Heat wave: Hydration advice for the Senior
For EHPADs, in addition to the management of covid, there is that of the heat wave . How do they approach this difficult period?
The heat wave and the elderly
We speak of a heat wave when temperatures exceed 35°C during the day without falling below 20°C at night, for several days in a row. For everyone, it is a real scourge: the heat wave slows down activity and can cause sunstroke and severe dehydration , particularly among the elderly . Why are they more vulnerable than others?
First, they often suffer from sweating disorders , their bodies do not produce enough sweat and adapt poorly to sudden rises in temperature.
A disturbance of the thirst mechanism may also occur which, in the elderly , intervenes with delay.
As we age, the amount of water present in the body decreases: from 75% in infants to only 50% in seniors . In addition, certain medications (diuretics, laxatives), even certain diseases (diabetes) increase water loss. It is therefore essential for them to drink regularly.
How to manage the heat wave in EHPAD?
In EHPADs, healthcare teams must provide the necessary care to each resident 24 hours a day.
During a heat wave , dehydration could be fatal like in 2003 when it claimed the lives of more than 14,800 elderly people during one of the deadliest heat waves in history.
Following the wave of deaths caused by the coronavirus , they must be all the more vigilant so as not to risk new contaminations.
What are the solutions to prevent history from repeating itself, especially during this period of covid-19?
You have to adapt their way of life in two ways:
In his accommodation : close the shutters, curtains or blinds of the windows located on the facades exposed to the sun; at night, create drafts in the dwelling; check that the air conditioning is well filtered to prevent the transmission of the virus; disinfect the rooms regularly.
When travelling : avoid taking the elderly out during the hottest hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.); make them wear masks.
In their wardrobe : when going out, make sure they wear a hat, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing;
In their diet : make them drink between a liter and a half and two liters of water a day; do not let them consume alcohol, which impairs their ability to fight the heat wave and promotes dehydration ; avoid drinks with high caffeine content or very sweet; make them eat normally even without hunger.
In order to stay hydrated on a daily basis, a solution was designed by two young French people , Théo Heude and Jérémy Boué, long-time friends they met in Australia. After having experienced situations of dehydration during their travels, they decided to take a greater interest in it.
Among other things, they want to help seniors by offering them a solution rich in mineral salts and trace elements to consume by dissolving a tablet in water. A method to optimize water absorption and better withstand heat waves.
The founders of hydratis do not stop there, they are currently working on the development of a formula with a working group made up of health professionals and members of the French Red Cross as well as EHPAD patients. The goal is to offer the most optimal and innovative solution to help the most vulnerable people.