The weather is certainly cold this month. Did you realize a Seniors temperature regulation is affected by illness, medication, blood thinners and aging? In these colder months be conscious of the efforts taken to keep loved ones warm. Here are some ways to help your senior stay warm for the rest of this winter.
Dangers of HypothermiaThe body temperature of an older adult drops at a quicker rate than their younger counterparts. Heart rates, blood pressure, and organ damage could be affected in temperatures below 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia may be fatal when body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Often older adults are not cognizant of extreme cold signs. Shaking, slurred speech, and discolored skin are all indicators of onset hypothermia. Be proactive rather than reactive when symptoms appear.
How to Keep Seniors WarmHere are tips to keep your loved one warm this winter.
- Be sure to wear layers of clothing (undershirts, a thin long sleeve shirt under a sweater, multiple layers of socks)
- Winterize windows and doors
- Wear a warm scarf and head covering when going outside
- Have blankets handy and accessible
- Stay hydrated to help regulate body temperature.
- Escort elders when going outside, especially in harsh conditions, icy surfaces and snow
- Be sure clothing is always dry - including socks
- Cook hot, hearty meals to provide comfort and warmth
- Create a check-up plan among family members and friends
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects body temperature
Hypothermia ActionsThe Mayo Clinic offers emergency actions to take should your loved one exhibit symptoms of hypothermia.
- Call 9-1-1
- Be gentle and DO NOT rub or massage the person- this could trigger cardiac arrest
- Remove wet clothing if applicable
- Move the person to a warm, dry area and keep them horizontal
- Monitor breathing
- If possible, have them drink a warm, sweet decaffeinated beverage. Try warm milk or herbal tea
- Create a dry compress using a water bottle, plastic bag filled with water or a dry warmed towel. Apply to the neck or chest. DO NOT apply to legs or arms, this forces cold blood back to the crucial organs and could be fatal.
- DO NOT use hot water, a heating pad, heating lamp or other direct heat to warm the person; slow warmth promotes regular heartbeats.