Ask an Angel: July 13, 2017

Our Ask An Angel correspondent is Arlene Petersen, Life Care Navigation Specialist in the area of senior home care.

Q. Most of us are happy summer is here, but I worry about my dad who refuses to turn his air conditioning on. How can I convince him to use it and that the heat can be dangerous?

A. Your dad is fortunate to have your concern! Extreme heat can be very dangerous for older adults, for many reasons. They can be prone to heat stress and do not adjust to temperature changes easily. If you have had a conversation about using the air conditioning with him, but continues to be reluctant about using it, you may want to formulate a way to check in on him on a regular basis. This is a huge responsibility! How do you do that in a caring, non-invasive manner? Consider organizing a “buddy system,” reaching out to friends, other family members, and neighbors to check on your dad either in person or by using the phone. Make sure there is plenty of water in the refrigerator so he can hydrate himself as much as possible. Be sure to contact all your dad’s physicians and check to see if he is on a fluid-restrictive diet. Mostly, always check-in before, during, and after the hottest points of the day. On days when a heat advisory is in effect, you may have to be more assertive and visit personally to ensure he uses the a/c to a point of removing any risk of heat stroke. Lean on his doctor to give instructions to your dad. Sometimes the advice of a doctor is received more openly that the efforts of our own obvious observations and advice. If you communicate from a heart-felt place, he may be more agreeable to your efforts!

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