About Community Health

Keeping our communities healthy is an integral part of Community VNA’s mission.  Community Home Care offers programs and services targeted to Somerset and Middlesex County residents in their homes and at community sites, providing assistance and education for all age groups, from newborns to seniors.

Services are focused on three areas: Certified Home Health Aide services, Managed Care services and direct community services.  The Community Health section of this website will help you learn about our child health clinics, flu and pneumonia immunization program, blood pressure screenings and more.  

Community VNA is a proud member of Healthier Somerset, whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of all who live and work in Somerset County.   By visiting the organization’s website, you can learn about programs to promote health in schools, workplaces and in the community.  You’ll also find news and events that are open to county residents.  There are tips on dining out, on keeping our children active and physically fit, and such important issues as teen mental health, managing stress and teenaged driving.  Visit Healthier Somerset and learn more about how to get and stay healthy with so many resources all around the community. 

Elderly Hyperthermia (Heat Stroke)

Almost every summer, New Jersey experiences a heat wave. The temperatures rise higher than average and when combined with a stifling humidity everyone is susceptible to overheating, but older adults are much more vulnerable, the effects of too much heat increases as we age.

Staying out in the heat or sun for too long is the most common cause of heat problems, but staying inside a hot or stuffy apartment or home can also become hazardous to our health. 

These are other types of reactions that can occur due to excessive heat:

Dizziness: This is usually felt if you are out in the sun too long or working hard in the heat. This reaction is more is more common in people who are taking beta blocker medications for their heart. Drinking water or putting up your legs and resting in a cool spot can help to make the dizziness go away.

Cramps: Heat cramps occur in your legs, arms or stomach and usually happen when your body gets overheated from too much activity in a hot environment. When this happens, our skin feels clammy and we may feel tired. These types of cramps often go away if resting in a cool spot.

Swelling: If your ankles, feet, and fingers start swelling up, it is possibly caused by the heat. Put your legs up and rest – but call a doctor if the swelling is severe and/or doesn’t decrease within 30 minutes of resting in a cool place.

Heat Exhaustion: This is sometimes a scary situation. You may feel weak, very thirsty, sick in the stomach, and uncoordinated. Your skin will be clammy and your heart may be racing. Rest in a cool spot and drink lots of fluids. If this doesn’t resolved itself fairly quickly – you may want to contact a physician as this exhaustion is just one step away from a more serious heat related problem: heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the most serious problem due to exposure to excessive heat.  It is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Fainting/falling down

Body temperature rises to 102 or higher

A change in behavior – acting “drunk” or confused, angry, or strange

Staggering and unsteady

Dry (not clammy) skin and a strong rapid pulse OR a slow weak pulse

Not sweating even when really hot

Acting agitated or being in a coma state

The following are risk factors for having complications in the hot weather.  

1. Being over 50 years old

2. Heart or cardiovascular problems

3. Changes to sweat glands and the skin due to normal aging

4. Lung or kidney disease

5. Taking certain drugs like diuretics, sedatives or tranquilizers, beta blockers and other heart medications. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if any of your medications can cause you to get overheated more easily.

6. Alcohol consumption

7. Being very overweight or underweight

As you can see, seniors significantly more risk factors.

Tips for Older Adults in Hot Weather

1. Drink plenty of fluids – but not alcohol or caffeine which can make a person dehydrated.

2. Keep the home as cool as possible with fans, air conditioning, shutting the drapes to block the direct sun, open windows at night to let in cool air and close them when the temperatures start to rise again in the morning.

3. Do not cook or use the oven during a heat wave – order take out or have meals brought into the home.  Sometimes the heat can lower a person’s appetite. It is okay to eat a little bit lighter on hot days, but keep the fluids up and look for high-fluid foods like fruit to ensure energy levels and hydration.

4. If you don’t have air conditioning –consider getting out:  have someone take you to the mall, a movie, the library, a restaurant, or some other air conditioned environment for a break from the heat each day.

5. Avoid crowded places outside when there is a heat wave and stay out of the direct sun.

6. Wear natural clothing in light colors if your loved one must be outside.

7. Sponge baths of lukewarm/cool water can help if you are uncomfortably hot

8. If you aren’t feeling well the best course of action is drink some fluids, lie down, and rest in a cool place out of the sun.

9. Heat stroke can be fatal: If you notice any signs above of heat exhaustion or heat stroke or if you are not feeling better soon after resting in a cool spot, call a doctor and get medical attention right away.

Community Visiting Nurse Association and its affiliates, Community VNS, Community Home Care and Community Care Hospice are non-profit home health and hospice providers serving Somerset, Middlesex and Warren counties. They are licensed by the State of New Jersey, certified by Medicare and Medicaid and accredited by Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP). Community VNA provides home health care, hospice care and community services. For more information, please visit our website at www.communityvna.org or call (908) 725-9355 ext. 2222.