Ashley Clark

Keep an eye on seniors as heat swelters

OLDER people may be at risk of serious illness from dehydration and heat stress as Bundaberg swelters under a summer heatwave.

With the weather bureau forecasting temperatures to remain in the mid to high 30s, National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke called on residents to look out for elderly family members, friends and neighbours.

"Frail older people are among the most vulnerable when it comes to enduring heat" Mr Henschke said.

"So, if you can, please find a few minutes to drop in just to make sure they have their home well ventilated and they are wearing appropriate loose, light clothing, and drinking enough water.

"It may mean the difference between older people seeing out the the heat wave in relative comfort or a trip to the hospital."

"Also, many older people are unable or unwilling to open enough windows as they fear break-ins but keeping their windows shut in extreme heat can make them sick.

"Or if they have air conditioning, the cost of running it may discourage them from turning it on.

"So, if your older friend or loved one has mobility issues and their home feels more like an oven, consider taking them to a local cinema, shopping centre or library, so they can cool down in the air conditioning. It may just save their life."

The Heart Foundation has also warned people with heart disease or people taking medicines for blood pressure or excess fluid to take extra care during heatwaves.

The Foundation said that dehydration could put extra strain on the heart by making it work harder to pump blood around the body, putting those affected at risk of a heart attack.

As well as drinking water regularly, seniors are urged to avoid alcohol, coffee and sugary drinks, and if going outside, to stay in the shade and avoid physical exercise.

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