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Q: How do I keep Mom safe during hot summer months?

Posted September 18, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: If you have lived in Iowa long enough, you know that heat is always something that we as Iowans have to endure. Heat can be a potentially deadly problem; nearly 400 Americans die from heat waves each year. Most of them are elderly people who often don’t realize when they are overheating and in danger.

Part of the problem with the extreme temperatures lies in the fact that older people simply can’t handle the heat as well as younger ones because they don’t sweat as effectively and have poorer circulation.

To protect seniors, the standard advice is to get them into an air-conditioned building, have them dress lightly and keep them hydrated. Keeping a labeled glass with markings as to how much water is in the container can be key for the elderly to keep track of how much water he or she really is drinking. But this is easier said than done, since poorer circulation also makes many seniors feel too cold in air-conditioned spaces and they want to reach for a sweater, even when it’s hot out. This is where close monitoring is needed to keep seniors safe and cool.

Information provided by Chelsea Spear, At-Home Care Company, 1513 N. Ankeny Blvd., Suite 4, Ankeny, 515-963-4410.

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