Monday, July 17, 2006

Caregiving: more dog days of summer

     Mowing my lawn Sunday, the temperature hit 91 degrees! Today’s forecast is for 98 degrees. The talking heads reporting weather are hyping “real fee” temperatures of 109 in their forecast. 

   Transporting Patti to visit with her parents I noticed some symptoms flare almost immediately when she was outside as if she was ‘hitting a wall’ of heat. Fortunately air conditioning whether in our van or in a home stabilized symptoms just as rapidly.

    Weather and mental confusion can put a person ‘at risk’ faster than most people can imagine.

     Following is a “cooler” example from our last year of homecare and one of the specific trigger incidents that demonstrated the urgent need for a 24/7 care facility.

     I awoke one winter night about 3 AM - the house was freezing! I guessed I should check the thermostat or heater. Instead I found our cats sitting in the foyer staring through the wide open door at Patti 20 ft down the sidewalk calling to them.

     Pushing Patti back inside I asked what she was doing, and she explained the cats wanted to go for a walk. … The cats on the other hand had enough sense to stay inside in such weather.

     The yard thermometer read zero degrees plus the wind was blowing. Somehow Patti had managed to transfer to her wheelchair and rolled outside in just her pajamas. Our home was built to be “accessible” and Patti could easily exit the front door.

     Fortunately our sidewalk makes a 90 degree turn at that point before continuing downhill to the street. Shoveled snow piled on both sides of the sidewalk had “caught” Patti from rolling any further.

     Symptoms of mental confusion and impaired reasoning can so easily cause a person to put them self at risk. When weather is dangerously hot or cold it does not take long for nature to take its toll.

     The dog days of summer are not always “those lazy hazy crazy days of summer”.


  1. it was 102 yesterday :( too hot try and stay cool


  2. so true! and for a person with problems to begin with, I'm sure it is more challenging to work with the elements of extreme weather conditions. Stay hydrated yourself in this heat.


  3. Oh my goodness, that is scary..  Linda


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