Originally Published in VoiceFriend Newsletter, June 2015
With summer upon us I thought it would be helpful to distribute one of our most popular and talked about articles. If it can help one senior in your care, it will have been well worth your time to read it. As always, we appreciate your feedback.
Summer is a wonderful time of the year. Beaches, lakes and pools are top of mind. For most everyone, summer is something to look forward to - for everyone that is, except the elderly.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 7,000 heat related deaths from 1999-2009; most at risk for heat illnesses and death are the elderly, children, the poor or those with pre-existing medical conditions. In 2012, half of the heat related victims were aged 65 and older, and 72 percent were male. Interestingly, three-fourths of the time, the victims were unmarried or living alone.
The CDC believes seniors are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.
There is however some hope for seniors. "Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. Taking steps to stay cool, hydrated and informed in extreme temperatures can prevent serious health effects like heat exhaustion and heat stroke," said lead author Ethel Taylor, a researcher who works with the CDC.
Many Eldercare Providers are using VoiceFriend's sophisticated, yet easy to use messaging solutions to send out heat advisories to residents, patients and clients. These simple alerts and reminders have been proven to engage and move seniors to take actions they would not have done so on their own.
At Hebrew Senior Life, a leading provider of Senior Living and Skilled Nursing Communities within the Greater Boston area, they use the VoiceFriend solution to send reminders to seniors to take precautions during the summer heat. Marjorie Glincher, Executive Director, explains, "An automated reminder can be an impactful solution for isolated or vulnerable seniors. It can truly be a life saver".
Summer is a wonderful time of the year. Let's ensure we make it a safe one for seniors.
Bruce Baron is CEO of VoiceFriend. VoiceFriend is the leader in providing messaging services for eldercare providers and hospitals. For more information on solutions to reduce OT expenses, make staff more productive and increase compliance to care plans, please contact VoiceFriend at 781-996-3123 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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