The grim reality of heat waves have been studied for years so that people can better prepare for this sometimes tragic effects on elderly people and infants. Scientists have studied them for years, hoping to find a way to protect those vulnerable populations when the extreme heat strikes.
Heat strokes and similar tragedies can happen to anyone at any age, but it’s seen most often and more severely in elderly populations. The health consequences of a heat wave can sometimes occur even if an elderly parent has air conditioning, but if the AC goes out in the middle of a heat wave, it can potentially take the life of that beloved elderly parent. If this situation occurs, here’s how you can help your elderly parent.
1. Find an Air Conditioned Environment During the Day
If your elderly parent insists on staying in their home during the heat wave, even without air conditioning, then it’s time to invite them out for a day on the town. Visit a mall or movie where it’s cool and refreshing. It’s vital that during the point of the day where the heat index is the highest, your parent is out in an air conditioned environment. There are even “cooling centers” in bigger cities that give the elderly a comfortable place to go during a heat wave or high heat index. Many elderly people who don’t have air conditioning will benefit from finding out about these services and arranging for a ride there if they’re unable to drive themselves.
2. Emergency AC Services
This is the first line of defense against a situation where an AC goes out in a home where there’s an elderly person or infant. There are times when fixing the air conditioner can be the difference between life and death. So while you’re following other tips to keep your parent comfortable, make sure that you’re calling emergency AC services to get help out right away. The majority of reputable heating and cooling companies realize that extreme temperatures are a life-threatening danger to elderly people and will make every reasonable effort to fix a parent’s AC the same day.
3. Plenty of Water
Dehydration can be deadly for an elderly person living through a heat wave with no air conditioner. It’s a life-saving measure to make sure that they are hydrated and drinking plenty of cold water during the ordeal. Even if they don’t want to drink water, make sure they realize that it can be the difference between living through a heat wave and dying during one.
4. Take it Easy
Your elderly parents need to refrain from doing anything strenuous during a heat wave. Even just cleaning around the house can be dangerous if there’s no air conditioner in the environment. Until the emergency AC services get there, it’s time to take it easy with your parents and encourage them to just relax and drink plenty of water. If the emergency AC service is competent, they’ll see this situation as the health situation it is and get out to fix the AC.
Knowing the signs of heat stroke is also helpful in this situation, as you’ll need to get medical help for your elderly parent if they begin experiencing signs of heat stroke. Teach those signs to them also, if they don’t already know them, so they’ll know when to call for an ambulance or for you if you can’t be with them during this time. There are far too many elderly people who die every year during heat waves who should have already been seeking medical attention far before it was too late. Knowing the signs of heat stroke and other heat-related conditions can truly save a life.
If your elderly parents call you and let you know their air conditioner is out during a heat wave, don’t take the situation lightly. Thousands of elderly people have died of heat strokes and other heat-related health conditions in the last several decades. Thanks to these helpful tips on dealing with a bum AC during a heat wave, maybe your parent will never join the ranks of those tragic numbers. Above all, realize that a heat wave with no air conditioner might be uncomfortable for you, but it could mean death to an elderly parent. It’s always a serious situation.