Whenever extreme heat is forecast, like it is for today and Thursday, people are advised to keep an eye on the elderly.
And there’s good reason.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the elderly are more prone to heat stress because “elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature, are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat and are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.”
Heat stroke, which can be deadly especially for the elderly, occurs when one’s body temperature rises quickly. The body loses its ability to perspire and cannot cool down and temps of up to 106 degrees can be reached in minutes. If emergency care isn’t provided quickly enough, death can occur. Some of the signs of heat stroke include high body temps, red and dry sky, rapid pulse, dizziness and or nausea.
It's advised that people should check on the elderly twice a day during a heat wave. And although the current forecast calls for extreme heat for just two days -- a heat wave is defined as three or more days of high heat -- it will nonetheless likely be record-breaking hot and humid weather.
Kathleen Doherty-Peck, Montville director of Senior and Social Services agreed that extreme heat conditions are dangerous for the elderly and said that the town is set up to help seniors cool off. The Montville Senior Center, located at 12 Maple Ave., in Uncasville, open daily from 8 to 4:30 p.m., is air-conditioned and there’s free bus service for seniors that need transportation to the center.
“Neighbors checking on seniors will call us and say they’re worried about someone,” she said. “We can’t make someone come here, but we can let people know we are here and we can help.”
Doherty-Peck said free bus service is available to the center for seniors 60 and older, although the center does need 24 hour notice to schedule a pick-up. For more information, call (860) 848-0422.
Some tips on keeping cool and healthy include staying indoors during the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned location like the Crystal Mall, or a library. It’s also advised that people wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, take cool showers or baths, (filling a tub with cold water for immersion is a good idea as long as there are no young children around to avoid drowning risks) and to be sure to drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic cold beverages.
The CDC website has lots of great information and ideas about keeping safe and cool.