Hot weather is more likely to cause health problems in older adults than in younger ones. About 200 Americans die of health problems caused by high heat and humidity every year. And most of them are 50 or older. Thanks to some of the physical changes that happen as we age, older adults can’t cool down as well as younger ones. Just as important - older people may not feel hot when the temperature is dangerously high. They are also less likely to feel thirsty, even when they are almost dehydrated, which means that their bodies have lost dangerous amounts of water. Heart disease, diabetes and some other diseases that are common among older adults can make it even more likely that they’ll have problems when it’s hot. So can certain drugs, including water pills, allergy and sinus medications, and drugs for depression and nerve problems.
Staying safe when it’s hot outside
High temperatures can and do cause health problems in older adults. When it’s hot older adults:
• Should turn on the air conditioner or go where it’s air-conditioned—a shopping mall, grocery store, senior center, movie theatre, museum, or library. (Fans aren’t enough.)
• Should Not walk long distances, lift heavy objects, or do other strenuous things.
• Should drink lots of water and other clear drinks that don’t contain alcohol or caffeine (these can “dry you out”).
• Remember: If your urine is a light yellow color, you’re drinking enough water. If it’s darker yellow, you need to drink more.
• Should take cool showers, baths, or sponge baths.
• Should wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. A good choice is clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton.
• Should wear hats.
• Should stay out of the sun.
Extreme Warm Weather Tips for Older Adults