Thursday, January 29, 2009

Danger of hypothermia for your aging parents

Did you realize hypothermia poses a threat to the elderly even inside their homes?
It is a very real threat. Hypothermia kills 600 Americans each year, half of whom are 65 or older.

To the elderly, it might make sense to try and save money by setting the thermostat back to 60-65 degrees. But, that is probably a very dangerous thing to do.
Next time you speak with or visit your aging parent, this is definitely something to check up on and discuss with your parent.

There are several factors that make the elderly more vulnerable to hypothermia indoors
1. Their bodies have less fat and muscle. Their metabolism is slower and, therefore, they generate less heat
2. They may lack awareness of feeling cold, due to dementia or the effect of prescription drugs.
3. Dehydration, common in the elderly, can be a factor.
4. A healthy person will wake up shivering in the night but an elderly person may just sleep through it with serious consequences.