July 18, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Geriatrician Asks NJ Residents to ‘Be a Good Neighbor’ During Heat Wave
STRATFORD — With temperatures soaring into the mid-90s, the director of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging is reminding area residents to “be a good neighbor” by checking to make sure nearby elderly residents are safe.
“The majority of heat-related deaths and illnesses each year are in people older than 50,” said Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, who is also the dean of the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. “Many older individuals have medical conditions or live in situations that make them more likely to succumb to the heat. So, please check regularly on these friends, neighbors and relatives on warm days.”
Among the unique concerns that Dr. Cavalieri noted are the decline in an older person’s body to adjust to changes in temperature, a diminished thirst reflex that keeps them from drinking adequate amounts of liquid, and safety and financial concerns that keep older people behind closed windows without fans or air conditioners.
“If safety or finances are a concern for your elderly neighbors or relatives, offer to stay with them while windows are open or to take them someplace where they can be in an air-conditioned environment,” Dr. Cavalieri said. “ Also, be alert for signs - such as dizziness, confusion and nausea - that indicate the need for medical intervention.”
To request an interview with Dr.Cavalieri, please contact Jerry Carey, University News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.