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610-929-5751

51 Seminary Avenue
Reading, PA 19605

SacredHeartVillaPA.org

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Don’t Sweat the Heat — Summer Safety Tips to Keep You Safe

The Reading / Berks County area has been hit with several heat waves this year, and forecasters are warning us that there are more on the way. When we think of severe weather events, we think of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Perhaps not surprisingly, extreme heat is considered the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S. In July 1995, over 700 people died during a five-day heat wave in Chicago. Most of the victims were poor elderly residents who could not afford air conditioning and were afraid to open their windows or sleep outside for fear of crime. Many were alone and so their suffering went unnoticed.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and seniors are encouraged to spend time outdoors, we would like to share some hot-weather safety tips for older folks and caregivers. NOTE: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for advice and treatment.

 

Know the signs of dehydration Dehydration means the body’s cells and blood vessels do not have the fluid they need. Some symptoms include:

  • dry mouth or dry skin in the armpit
  • high heart rate (usually over 100 beats per minute)
  • systolic blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • delirium (new or worse-than-usual confusion)
  • sunken eyes
  • less frequent urination
  • dark-colored urine

 

Consuming appealing beverages (not sugary, alcoholic, or caffeinated) and water-rich fruit can help stave off dehydration.

 

Keep your home cool by covering windows and, if possible, using reflectors to bounce the heat back outside. Attic and whole-house fans can draw hot air outside and create a bit of a breeze. Of course, air conditioners help cool rooms and draw out humidity.

 

Go to a cool place if possible If you have a relative, friend, or neighbor with air conditioning, see if you can spend some time with them so you can cool off. Public spaces, such as libraries and malls, can provide some relief.

 

Keep yourself cool Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Take a shower or bath to cool down. Use heat-producing appliances as infrequently as possible. Minimize physical exertion, such as exercise, yard work, and other activities. If you must be outside, try to stay in the shade, and stay hydrated. Wear clothing that will shield your head, eyes, and extremities from direct sun.

Make sure you have someone to check up on you, or that you are checking up on infants, children, and older folks during severe weather. If you have any concerns, contact emergency or other medical providers right away.

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.

The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café, and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety, and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or a loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit us at sacredheartvillapa.org.