By Jo Ellen Bleavins of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
With temperatures in Illinois already climbing into the 90s well before the official start of Summer next week, I wanted to remind folks that high temperatures, especially when combined with very high humidity levels, should be of concern, particularly to older adults.
According to information posted on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s website, older adults are more at risk for three key reasons :
Older adults are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
Older adults are more likely to be taking prescription medications that impairs the body’s ability to regulate temperature or inhibits perspiration.
The CDC encourages us to visit at risk older adults at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Other tips include the following:
Avoid heavy meals and alcohol.
Keep the sunscreen handy and use it! As you age, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. Choose a sunscreen that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It should also be a broadband UV spectrum – protecting against both UVA and UVB light. Be sure to apply generously.
Shield your skin and eyes from the harmful rays by wearing protective clothing such as light weight/ light color fabric, hats and sunglasses.
Take cool baths or showers. Ice bags and wet towels also can be helpful.
Visit air-conditioned locations such as restaurants and malls.
Air conditioning can do more than help you stay cool; it can be a lifesaver. The Keep Cool Illinois website has a list of cooling centers that are available throughout the state, click here to open the site. During heat emergencies, older adults can contact their local Area Agency on Aging or the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966 for assistance in locating buildings that serve as cooling centers.
To cool off during heat emergencies, we also invite you to visit a BMA Senior Living Community near you. We have 35 communities located throughout Illinois. Below is a map of where our communities are located.
View BMA Community Map in a larger map
One of the included amenities that takes on so much added importance at our communities when heat warnings and advisories are in effect is air conditioning. The cost of utilities such as air conditioning is included in the monthly fee for the senior living and assisted living apartments that we manage.
In addition, in our assisted living and affordable assisted living communities, certified staff members are on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Conducting a daily welfare check on each resident is just one of their responsibilities.
An emergency response system comes standard with each assisted living and affordable assisted apartment, and three restaurant-style meals each day are among the included services. Snacks and beverages are available whenever the dining room is not open.
Please remember that temperatures can reach dangerous levels here in Illinois.
From looking at information available from the National Weather Service, the Summer of 1936 certainly claims the top spot in terms of heat.
This was the Summer of “The Dust Bowl,” which especially hit the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions.
In Illinois, many locations saw peak temperatures in excess of 110 degrees at the height of the heat wave.
In our State Capital of Springfield, highs reached 100 on at least 29 different days in the summer of 1936.
July was the worst. Here are a few examples…
In Danville, home of our Bowman Estates affordable assisted living community, the temperature reached 112 degrees on July 14 and topped 100 degree on 15 days.
In Decatur, home of our Eagle Ridge affordable assisted living community, the temperature hit 110 degrees on July 14 and climbed above 100 on 17 days.
In the Quad Cities, home of our Heritage Woods of Moline affordable assisted living community, the temperature reached 111 degrees on July 14 and reached 100 degrees on 11 consecutive days.
Urbana, home of our Prairie Winds affordable assisted living community, faired a little better. The top temperature was only 108 on July 14, and they only recorded 13 days where the temperature topped 100 degrees.
Nationally, 5,000 people died from the heat.
For more information on heat and older adults and tips on what you can do to protect yourself and others, here are a couple of resource websites that you might want to visit:
at BMA Management, Ltd and a Registered Nurse.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”