Elderly people can find it hard to cope with hot weather. The charity Contact the Elderly is urging people to keep an eye on older neighbours and help them stay safe.
The charity warns that older people are at increased risk of heat-related illnesses, known collectively as hyperthermia, during periods of hot weather. This can include heat stroke, oedema (swelling in the ankles and feet), heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
Contact the Elderly, the national charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation amongst older people, has already urged its nationwide network of over 11,000 volunteers to check in on the isolated older people they work with, either over the phone or in person, and make sure they are comfortable. The charity is also encouraging people in Suffolk and North Essex to do the same for older neighbours, relatives and friends.
Contact the Elderly’s Deputy CEO, Cliff Rich, said: ““With so many of us enjoying the sun, it can be easy to forget about our isolated older neighbours, who are stuck in their homes unable to get out because of the heat, or because of other health problems.”
Heatwaves in the UK can be lethal, particularly for older people. In 2016, there was a significant spike in preventable deaths on the warmest day of the year, June 19. A 2014 report to Parliament also found that heat contributes to around 2,000 premature deaths each year.
With 3.6 million older people living alone in the UK, it is vital that communities look out for their older members, particularly those who live alone and are isolated. The heat can pose a significant health risk to older people. Communities must stay vigilant and ensure that no older people are forced to suffer from the heat in silence.