The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in a four year period that around 1,260 people lost their lives due to winter weather and ensuing hypothermia. Elderly people and those with chronic health problems are particularly at risk from cold.
No one should die of cold in the United States, especially now in the 21st century where we have advanced tools and medicines, but that’s what happened to more than a thousand people between the years 2006 and 2010. Here’s how you can save your loved one:
Elderly People and Cold
Elderly people are more at risk from a cold due to a number of reasons:
They are less efficient at absorbing nutrients from food, so they can’t make body heat as easily.
Age weakens the immune system, which makes them more susceptible to winter illnesses like colds, flu, and pneumonia.
Aging causes deteriorating health and people with chronic health problems are more likely to become ill through the effects of cold weather.
Older people are more likely to take prescription medications and may be taking several at once. This can interfere with memory, so an elderly person is more likely to forget to turn the heating on.
They may be concerned about being able to pay heating bills on their pension and could leave the heat switched off to save money.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Loved One Warm
Check your elderly relative if they have a properly working central heating. If there’s a problem, heating repair and other St. Louis specialists can go service their unit on the same day and have them feeling warm again.
If they are worried about costs, the National Energy Assistance Referral Program can help pay heating bills for people who are on low income, especially those who receive benefits.
If they take medications and this is causing them difficulties, speak with their health care provider to modify or reduce their prescriptions. If they are struggling with everyday tasks, social services may be able to help obtain a home care aide who can visit during the day and make sure they are okay.
Elderly people are more vulnerable to the cold, but taking these simple measures could help keep them feel toasty over the winter.