Shade Brigade reminds senior citizens to stay cool in summer heat
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Duane is 92. Blanche is 93.
And as another summer scorcher heats up, the couple are in great shape.
Meaghan Thompson aims to keep it that way.
Thompson, the community relations director for Emeritus in Springfield, knows heat can be deadly - and that the citizens most at risk are seniors.
Thompson told KVAL News Thursday, "They wait until it's too late to react to their dehydration. So honestly, they sit there and say, you know, I'm not that thirsty and I'm OK."
People 65 and over are more at risk for heat illness - and elders are what the Emeritus Senior Living community in Springfield specializes in.
Even out in the community.
For the 7th year, the company's Shade Brigade has set out to visit seniors in their homes to make sure they are keeping cool.
Emeritus relies on referrals from churches, doctors and neighbors to identify the 30 or so seniors they visit each month.
Thompson doesn't show up empty handed - she brings water, popsicles, fruit and juice to the seniors she visits, a way to remind them to stay hydrated during the hot, dry summer months.
Thompson says it's gratifying to help so many seniors stay independent, adding, "It's a great opportunity to give back to them.
Make sure that they're safe, taken care of, and that they know people care about them."
Learn more about:
- Symptoms of heat-induced illness
- Symptoms of heat stroke
- Caring for a victim of heat stroke
- Who is most at risk for heat-related illnesses
- The Do's and Don'ts for hot weather
- Current weather conditions and forecast
Dehydration - thirst, less frequent urination
Prickly heat bumps - irritating skin rash
Cramps - painful muscle contractions
Edema - swelling of hands and feet
Exhaustion / Fatigue - characterized by clammy skin, paleness, dizziness, nausea, fever, and headache
Seek immediate medical help if you or someone else develops the following symptoms. Heat Stroke is the most severe heat illness and is a life-threatening situation.
Rapid heart rate and breathing
Confusion, disorientation, agitation, irritability
High body temperature
Intense muscle aches, fever, diarrhea or nausea
Convulsing, fainting, seizure, loss of consciousness
Caring for a Heat Stroke Victim Until Help Arrives
While you are waiting for help to arrive you can assist the person by doing the following:
Get the person out of the heat to a cooler environment. Take them indoors if possible.
Fan the person with a newspaper or towel to cool the body.
Loosen or remove clothing and sprinkle the skin lightly with water.
Elevate feet to direct blood flow back toward the head.
If available, apply ice-packs to the groin area or armpits.
Some people are at greater risk than others to suffer heat-related illness:
Infants and young children
People aged 65 and older
Those persons who are physically ill, or have heart disease or high blood pressure
Those persons who must work in / wear protective equipment: helmets, respirators, heavy clothing
How to Beat the Heat - The Do's and Don'ts:
Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries
Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air
Take a cool bath or shower
Minimize direct exposure to the sun
Stay hydrated - regularly drink water or other nonalcoholic fluids
Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads
Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes
Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat
Limit exercise to moderate activity and rest whenever necessary
Exercise during cooler periods of the day such as the early morning or late evening hours
Consult your health care provider or pharmacist to see which medicines are affected by excessive heat conditions
Know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.
Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90f
Leave children, the elderly or pets alone in cars for any amount of time
Drink alcohol, or drinks that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar to try to stay cool
Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods
Wear heavy, dark clothing
Exert yourself excessively