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August 17, 2010 > Deadly heat threatens seniors nationwide

Deadly heat threatens seniors nationwide

Submitted By Jon Weiner, Senior Helpers

This summer's sweltering summer temperatures have caused several unnecessary deaths among senior citizens who did not take simple, sensible steps to protect themselves, such as turning on the air conditioning. Despite heat warnings across much of the country, seniors often fail to act. Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care provider, has started an initiative called "Senior Helpers' Heat Watch" to care for local elderly people who are more vulnerable and prone to problems stemming from this summer's record breaking heat.

"In the midst of one of the hottest summers on record for many parts of the country, we must take additional steps to ensure our seniors are protected. That's why we started 'Heat Watch,'" says Peter Ross, CEO of Senior Helpers. "Due to age, medical conditions and the prescription drugs these individuals often take, their bodies can't regulate internal temperatures and cool down as effectively as younger adults. People can follow our 'Heat Watch' guidelines and check in on their elderly loved ones on their own or hire a caregiver to check for them."

A recent study by Kent State University found that almost 90 percent of respondents over age 65 were aware of heat warnings in their area but less than half of those people acted upon them. The survey found that most seniors thought the messages were targeted toward "older Americans," a group to which they did not think they belonged.

"Seniors often don't realize they're at risk, that's why we must take special precautions and look out for them," says Ross. "Heat-related health issues are almost always avoidable. You just have to make sure some simple safeguards are in place to prevent these dangers from becoming real problems."

For more information, visit

Senior Helpers Heat Watch Guidelines

Visit senior loved ones daily - drop by, even if for only an hour to physically check up on them and make sure all is well.

Turn on the air conditioning for them - air conditioning is the number one protection senior citizens have from heat-related dangers but seniors often do not turn on the air conditioning, sometimes to save on energy bills.

Schedule prescription medications in the morning or at night - many common prescription medications, including many heart medicines specifically, affect the body's ability to cool itself and perspire naturally. If possible, take these medications during the cooler parts of the day.

Limit the coffee - coffee, and other beverages with a lot of caffeine, are natural diuretics and cause the body to lose more water than they contribute.

Keep a damp, cool cloth nearby - at the first sign of any uncharacteristic nausea or dizziness, apply the cloth directly to the bodies key "Pulse Points," most notably the armpits and neck. Applying a cloth to these key spots cools the body more quickly and efficiently.

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