For various reasons, older people are more susceptible to health problems associated with hot weather. One main reason is the greater probability they have a medical issue making them more vulnerable to heat stress. A related factor is whether they take medication putting them at higher risk. Central air conditioning installation can be important for their health and well-being. Here are some things to consider.
Perspiration and Circulation
People in this age group gradually experience reductions in perspiration levels. Perspiring is the body's way of trying to cool off. Poor circulation also is more common among senior citizens than in younger persons. This is another risk factor for heat-related illness.
Chronic illnesses are more prevalent in people age 65 and over. Some of these disorders cause worse symptoms during excessive heat. For example, although multiple sclerosis usually is diagnosed before age 50, the symptoms tend to become more problematic in the senior years. These individuals generally feel and function significantly better in an air-conditioned environment.
As people age, they become more likely to need prescription medicine for chronic conditions. Some make heat-related issues more likely. Diuretics, for instance, help regulate blood pressure but also are dehydrating because of extra fluid elimination. Anticholinergic drugs are used to treat a broad range of disorders, including urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Anticholinergics reduce a person's ability to perspire.
Many who have early-stage Alzheimer's and other types of dementia continue to live at home. A certain percentage of them live alone. These individuals may forget to stay hydrated and might not comprehend when they are feeling too warm. Their adult children may want to take responsibility for having central air installed in the home. Close family members and friends who live nearby could check on their loved one when the weather is hot. They'll want to make sure the central air system is turned on and the thermostat is set at a reasonable level.
Sitting near a fan, drinking plenty of water, and taking cool showers or baths help regulate a person's temperature during hot weather. However, these actions are not as effective as living in a home with central air. Some homeowners still insist the equipment is unnecessary, but older adults should strongly consider having it installed for health and safety reasons. They might begin by calling a few air conditioning installation companies for quotes.