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Monitoring the elderly during triple-digit heat

Posted at 11:17 PM, Jun 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 11:37:21-04

In light of Elder Abuse Awareness Month and especially during this heat, it’s important to remember to monitor your loved ones that may be more prone to dehydration: the elderly.

“Usually around 65-ish they start running into a little bit different metabolism issues, so sometimes it’s easy for their bodies to flush out a lot of the fluids that are in their systems, Jeremy Oliver, Program Director [The elderly] want to be careful about how much they exert themselves throughout the day.”

According to the county’s aging and adult services it’s crucial to check in with the elderly regularly when temperatures rise. The CDC recommends at least twice a day during a heat wave.
“One of the reasons we tend to see more susceptibility is the amount of medication senior citizens are taking during this time period, and some of those can actually add to the dehydration aspects,” Oliver said.

As 23ABC has reported, Bakersfield has experienced ten days of triple digit heat so far this year. With Sunday being the first day of summer, these sort of temperatures will continue to show up throughout the season. The National Weather Service’s meteorologist Jim Bagnall said that Bakersfield sees anywhere from 15-20 triple-digit heat days to 65 triple-digit heat days a year, specifically over the summer months.

“Warmer than normal, and there was this recent hot spell, of course, with some record-setting temperatures. So we’re getting an early start to hot temperatures coming up,” Bagnall said.

Oliver said to prevent dehydration during these scorching summers, encourage elderly members of your family to drink plenty of fluids like water and sports drinks with electrolytes, avoid caffeine. he also recommends to run errands earlier in the day to beat the heat and get plenty of rest during the day to avoid overexertion and perspiration that can lead to dehydration.

Some signs of dehydration in elderly, Oliver said to keep on the lookout for are light-headedness, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue and less frequent urination. Another key tip from Oliver to find out if someone is dehydrated is called the skin turgor test. What you do is pinch the skin on the wrist. If the skin doesn't return back to normal immediately, it may be a sign of dehydration.

Oliver added to seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

“Get them to the doctor fast. Heart palpitions, sometimes that can be an early indication of dehydration as well,” Oliver said.