Home Nursing Home Dangers of Exposure for Seniors

New Mexico Lawyers Discuss Dangers of Weather Exposure


Dangers of Exposure for Seniors

Exposure to the elements can be dangerous for seniors, in both winter and summer weather. This is a major risk for older nursing home residents with dementia, in cases of elopement or abandonment. Nursing homes and their staff have a responsibility to protect older people in their care from the dangers of exposure to cold weather or excessive heat.

Back to Top

Exposure in Cold Weather: What Are the Dangers?

Hypothermia is the main risk for elderly people exposed to the cold. This condition occurs when body temperatures drop into the lower ranges. Older people lose body heat faster, and hypothermia can develop quickly. When body temperature drops to 95°F or lower, it can cause serious health issues in seniors, such as kidney problems, liver damage, heart attack, or worse.

Being outside in the cold, or inside a cold building, can lead to hypothermia in an older person. Nursing home residents may develop hypothermia if rooms in the facility are not kept warm enough.

Back to Top

What Makes Seniors Susceptible to Hypothermia?

As mentioned above, older people lose body heat faster, and they may not be aware of how cold they are, because of body changes that come with aging. Strong winds can lower body temperatures quickly when seniors are outdoors. Certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can lower body heat, and so can physical inactivity.

Diseases and health conditions can make it more difficult to stay warm and increase the risk of hypothermia. These conditions include:

  • Thyroid problems: Hashimoto’s and other thyroid conditions can make it difficult for the body to maintain a normal temperature.
  • Diabetes: This common condition affects blood flow and warmth, particularly in the extremities.
  • Dementia and memory loss: Health conditions that affect cognitive function may cause a senior to wander or go outside in cold weather without proper clothing.

Back to Top

Exposure to the Sun and Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., affecting approximately one in five people, as stated by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). While most types of skin cancer can be treated successfully when caught early, melanoma can be fatal. Exposure to UV rays from the sun dramatically increases the risk of developing skin cancer at any age.

In the high desert climate of parts of New Mexico, seniors have greater exposure to UV rays when they are outdoors. Older people may be more susceptible to skin cancer because of accumulated exposure from living longer. In addition, aging weakens the immune system, reduces healing capacity, makes the skin thinner and less elastic, and diminishes defenses against skin cancer.

Back to Top

Dangers of Exposure in Cases of Elopement, Abandonment, and Nursing Home Neglect

Many nursing home residents are not able to live independently and cannot meet their own needs. When nursing staff does not provide proper care and help residents meet their basic needs, seniors can be put at risk for elopement, abandonment, and neglect.

In a nursing context, elopement can be defined as unsupervised wandering, with the resident leaving the facility and becoming exposed to the elements. Abandonment occurs when a nursing home fails to provide the care a resident requires, which may result in elopement and exposure. When nursing home staff neglect residents with dementia, they may also wander outdoors and away from the facility. Each scenario can lead to serious harm from exposure to the cold in the winter and sun exposure in the summer months.

Back to Top

Legal Recourse for Exposure of Seniors Due to Nursing Home Neglect

If your elderly loved one has suffered harm from exposure due to nursing home negligence, you may have recourse under the law to recover compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 212-2822 to schedule a free consultation. Our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers are aggressive advocates for injured senior citizens. Our lawyers understand the corporate aspects, as well as the medical and legal aspects of injury cases based on nursing home abuse and neglect.

Back to Top

Don't wait to get help. Contact our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to schedule a free consultation.

Our Results

$4,000,000
18-wheeler Driver Fell Asleep And Killed Driver.

View More

Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP

Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP is a legal practice that provides personal, client-centered legal services that address the specific needs of accident victims and injured parties.


Dan Sorey
Attorney

Derek Gilliland
Attorney

John Hull
Attorney

In The News

We thanked our local first responders

Some of our brave first responders enjoyed a free meal at the Tuscan Pig last weekend!

Becky Alldredge Named Paralegal of the Year

A very special congratulations to Becky Alldredge for being selected as the Paralegal of the Year by the Northeast…

Texas Ranked LAST in US for Nursing Home Care

Of the 13 nursing homes in Gregg county two did not submit enough information to be ranked and 9 were ranked…

Read more articles

Our Blog

May
8

Defending Against a Nursing Home Eviction in New Mexico

Once you’ve successfully settled your loved one into a New Mexico nursing home, the last thing you …

Apr
29

Nursing Home Abuse and LGBT Residents

When you become a nursing home resident, you expect fair, responsible treatment from staff, doctors, and …

Apr
17

The Surprising Dangers of Bed Rails

As surprising as it may be, bed rails are a significant cause of injury and death in nursing…

Read more blog posts

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receiptor viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

© 2020 Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP - All rights reserved | Website Design and Legal Internet Marketing by: SLS Consulting SLS Consulting