If hyperthermia goes unchecked, it can quickly turn into heat stroke, which can be fatal. Heat stroke becomes a bigger problem for aging adults during warmer weather, when they’re spending lots of time outside or the inside of their home isn’t properly cooled.
Get Help on the Way
Whether or not you’re sure that your senior is having heat stroke, get some help on the way. Call 911 and let them know what is going on. Once you have help on the way, you can focus on helping her to be more comfortable.
Move Her to a Cooler Location if You Can
If possible, help your elderly family member to get somewhere cool. Inside, that might mean turning on some fans, closing windows, and turning on the air conditioner. If you’re outside, getting into some shade can help quite a bit, but going inside is best if it’s possible.
Encourage Slow Water Intake
Drinking fluids, specifically water, can help to rehydrate your senior. If she drinks too much water or drinks too fast, she can get sick to her stomach, though. Encourage her to drink slowly and to space out her sips a bit. Also, if the water is too cold, that could be uncomfortable. Room temperature water is fine since your main focus here is helping increase her hydration.
Use Cold Compresses
Apply damp, cool cloths to your senior’s wrists, forehead, and to the back of her neck. If she’s significantly overheated, you might need to cool them off again quickly. If you can, you might want to help her into a cool shower. A cool sponge bath can be as effective.
Talk to Her Doctor
It’s really important to try to determine why this happened. An obvious situation might involve your elderly family member being outside in the sun and the heat for too long. Less obvious causes might include medications she’s taking, though, so it’s important to ask her doctor to weigh in. He might be able to give you some solid advice for avoiding this in the future.
Keeping your elderly family member as cool and hydrated as possible during hot weather can help her to avoid heat stroke in the future. If you know exactly what contributed to the episode, do what you can to eliminate that as a possibility from here on out. It might help to have senior care providers available as the weather warms up so that your senior has the help if she needs it.