The continuing heatwave is challenging for the elderly, who are more likely to live alone, have possible difficulties drinking lots of water, are less able to detect their body is overheating, may live in an apartment that does not offer air conditioning or good cross-ventilation, to have difficulty accessing cool parts of their house, like the basement, and to have greater overall health frailty.
For the next week, working through this unprecedented heatwave, the Better at Home agency is asking the public to help with the following:
If you are a senior, or you know a senior who needs some help with getting groceries, meals or medications to connect with the local Better At Home agency who can offer some services and support. The local number is 250-847-9515 extension 2008.
Check on your elderly family members, friends, and neighbours in person if at all possible. Make sure they have lowered the blinds, closed the drapes, and have fans running. Open doors to the corridor of the building, if it will help to circulate cooler air.
Ensure seniors are drinking plenty of cool liquids and eating as much as possible, as their appetite may decrease during the hot weather. Popsicles and ice chips can help assist in cooling down and taking in liquids.
When visiting, take the opportunity to give a cold cloth to the face, wrists, and the back of the neck. If possible have them run their wrists under cold water or see if they can manage a cool or tepid shower. These ideas will help to bring down their body temperature.
As older skin is more vulnerable to sunburn, avoid going outside if at all possible. If necessary to go outside, make sure they are protected from the sun, wear as wide-brimmed a hat as possible. Suggest wearing cool cotton or other natural fabric clothing.
If it is possible, to go somewhere that is air-conditioned, such as a cooling centre, library, or if your house is cooler, consider this option for the hottest part of the day.
If there are signs of unusual confusion, vomiting, or lethargy, call 911, or take them to the nearest emergency department.
If you are concerned about a senior and you cannot contact them, call the local police.