Older people and hot weather

As you age, you can have a higher risk of heat-related illness, especially if you live alone, have medical conditions, or take certain medicines.

Physical changes happen as you get older, and you may be less likely to notice you are becoming overheated or dehydrated, and some medications can make this worse. Older people are also less able to cool their body by sweating.

Some medicines can make you more prone to sunburn and heat stress, so it is important to watch for signs of being affected by hot weather.

Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist for more advice about the medicines you are taking.

Follow these tips to help stay healthy in the heat if:

  • Arrange for a friend or relative to visit once or twice a day to check how you are and that you have everything you need to stay healthy in the heat.
  • Use air-conditioners and fans set to cool if you can.
  • Put a wet cloth around your neck or put your feet in a bowl of cool water.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and take a bottle of water wherever you go so you do not become dehydrated.
  • Swap large meals for smaller ones. Make cool meals, like salads, and avoid using ovens or stoves in hot weather.
  • Avoid going outside in the hottest part of the day.
  • A trip to an air-conditioned public space, like the local library, cinema, or shopping centre, may help you keep cool and give you some relief from hot weather. 

If you care for an older person, check on them each day during very hot weather, and ensure they are familiar with the steps above.

The Red Cross Telecross REDi is a free service for older people to receive a phone call by a trained Red Cross volunteer to ensure they are well and coping in hot weather. Register by calling 1800 188 071 or emailing telecrossredi@redcross.org.au.

For More Information

In This Section