Hypothermia is oftentimes overlooked by family members of elderly folk because of the low risk of contracting the condition by those who are of younger ages. This is understandable as it is relatively difficult for non-seniors to get hypothermia in their day-to-day lives. Extremely low temperatures along with extenuating circumstances must work synergistically for most people to suffer the fatal consequences of hypothermia.
While maybe understandable, it is the duty of loved ones to look out for their senior family members. On average, it is much more probable that a senior will experience hypothermia than their younger counterparts. Knowing not only how to prevent hypothermia, but learning the warning signs of hypothermia are important to protecting elderly family members on a regular basis.
Why Elders Suffer from Hypothermia so Easily – Even in California
As previously mentioned, it is incredibly uncommon for those who are not elderly to experience hypothermia, even at very low temperatures. Despite this, it does not take long for elderly folk to contract hypothermia due to their jeopardized health and body‘s inability to properly regulate temperatures. There are many factors that may play into elderly folks’ heightened risk of experiencing hypothermia.
- Increased heat loss from the body
- Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels)
- Drug-induced impairment (oftentimes by prescribed drugs)
- Decreased body heat production
Preventing Hypothermia in Senior Citizens
Despite an elderly person’s ability to more easily experience hypothermia, there are some ways to prevent the process of fleeting body heat. Most of these methods are centered around insulating body heat that is coming off of the individual – one of the most critical methods in ensuring an elderly person is kept warm.
- Put as many layers on the individual as possible while still keeping them from overheating. This should be done even in the house and in abnormally low-temperature environments. Consider wearing long underwear, mittens, and hats as the hands, feet, and head are the most susceptible areas for heat loss.
- Make sure the thermostat is sufficiently raised in the home. 68°F is considered the bare minimum for elderly folk. 60 to 65°F can trigger hypothermia in an elderly person, meaning that above 70° is the gold standard for preventing hypothermia.
- Consult the doctor of the elderly family member to see if any of their medication may possibly put them at risk for hypothermia.
Getting the Right Elder Abuse Attorney in San Diego
While many people are skeptical or negligent to the fact that hypothermia can occur in San Diego and southern California, remember that too low a thermostat, semi-cool nights, and wet conditions are everyday conditions in which seniors can easily experience hypothermia.
There are some cases in which a negligent family member, nurse, or healthcare facility employee neglects to address the concerns of your loved one. In this case, a San Diego elder abuse attorney such as Joel Bryant would be needed to help you recover financial compensation for the medical bills and other expenses that would follow a case of hypothermia.