As the country continues to experience its recent history of long, hot summers, it is becoming vitally important that we understand symptoms of heat related illnesses, especially for our seniors. Our bodies work hard every day to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat forces our body to work harder than normal, which often is the root cause of heat-related illness. Essentially the heat forces our bodies to work beyond their limits. For senior citizens, this can be a dangerous – and even deadly – problem. With awareness and preventative measures, caregivers can help their senior loved ones enjoy a healthy, active summer.
Seniors don’t ‘feel the heat’ the way younger people do, and so might not be aware of the risks of high temperatures. Physiologically, as we age our bodies lose some natural ability to regulate temperature making seniors more susceptible to temperature changes in the environment. One such change is that the subcutaneous layer of fat beneath the skin, which acts as a natural insulation to hear and cold, dwindles. Also because seniors perspire less, it’s harder for them to keep cool which also increases their risk of becoming overheated.
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