top of page

Elderly people and extreme heat

The Kolkata summer is at its best. All you need is a jugalbandi of extreme level of humidity accompanied by high temperature! We are having both of it and it is likely to persist for a few more days. Thus, it is of vital importance that Porosh’s members who are all senior citizens be a bit cautious about extreme heat conditions which are sweeping across South Bengal.

People aged 65 or older are more prone to heat-related health concerns. Older adults can not adjust to sudden temperature changes as fast as younger people.

This may happen because of certain medicines they take or chronic illnesses that affect their ability to regulate body temperature. When not treated properly, heat-related illnesses can lead to death. But you can take steps to stay cool during hot weather.

Signs and symptoms of heat

If your body becomes overheated, you can be in danger of heat-related illness.

These illnesses can include:

  • Heat syncope, or sudden dizziness.

  • Heat cramps.

  • Heat edema, or swelling in your legs and ankles.

  • Heat exhaustion— when your body can no longer stay cool. This often appears as feeling thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, or nauseated. You may sweat a lot and have cold and clammy skin or a rapid pulse.

  • Heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Signs can include fainting, behavior changes, high body temperature (over 104° F), dry skin, a strong and rapid pulse, a slow and weak pulse, and no longer sweating even though it’s hot.

How to stay cool

As a friend, family member, or caregiver, one can help an older adult avoid heat-related illness during the warmer months. Some things that can be done are:

  • Know what medicines they are taking and find out if they affect body temperature.

  • Call or connect regularly and ask if they are cool enough. Listen for patterns or shared concerns.

  • Complete a care plan together to provide structure and direction. The care plan should include ways to stay cool during extreme heat and should note if any medicines the person takes may affect body temperature regulation.

If you are the one checking in on older adult, make sure they

  • Stay hydrated

  • Have the living space set to a comfortable temperature

  • Know how to stay cool during extreme heat

  • Don’t show signs of heat stress

  • Seek medical care immediately if the person has symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea, weakness, or vomiting

We hope you have enjoyed reading the article. However, it is important to remember that while it has been written keeping in mind senior citizens, the above points mentioned above are equally relevant cutting-across various age groups.




bottom of page