Hypothermia kills thousands of senior citizens every year, with winter being an especially dangerous time of year for older people whose immune systems aren’t as powerful as that of young and middle-aged adults.
When a person’s core body temperature drops below 36°C (97°F), hypothermia begins to set in, which increases the risk of the person suffering kidney failure, a heart attack or other such severe health problems. This risk is even greater in elderly people, as their lower metabolic rate makes it more difficult for their bodies to maintain an ideal temperature.
In winter, the freezing weather makes hypothermia even more likely to strike, so it is essential to check in on older relatives to make sure they are not being subjected to extreme cold. Keep an eye out for warning signs such as change in skin colour, drowsiness and extreme shivering. If you notice several of these signs, call the emergency services immediately.
This infographic from Home Healthcare Adaptations (http://www.home-healthcare-adaptations.ie/stairlifts-dublin/) advises on what we can do to try and keep senior citizens safe from the effects of hypothermia. At this time of year, education on the subject is especially vital, with sub-zero temperatures heightening the risk of hypothermia striking.