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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 6721-6733; doi:10.3390/ijerph10126721

Risk Factors, Health Effects and Behaviour in Older People during Extreme Heat: A Survey in South Australia

1
Department for Health and Ageing, 11 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
2
School of Population Health, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia
3
School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia
4
Population Research and Outcome Studies, Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Collection Climate Change and Human Health)
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Abstract

Older people had a high incidence of hospitalisation during the 2009 heat wave in South Australia. We sought to explore resilience, behaviours, health risk factors and health outcomes during recent heat waves for a representative sample of independently living residents. A telephone survey of 499 people aged 65 years and over was conducted, and included both metropolitan and rural residences. A variety of adaptive strategies were reported, with 75% maintaining regular appointments and activities during the heat. However, 74% took medication for chronic disease and 25% assessed their health status to be fair to poor. In a multivariate model, factors associated with heat health outcomes included medication for mental health, heart failure, diabetes or respiratory health, reporting a reduced health status, use of mobility aids and being female. Compared with younger participants, those over 75 had more check-up calls and visits by family, friends and neighbours. However, confidence to call on support was associated with indicators of social isolation. The study indicates that older people are generally resilient, but interventions addressing multi-morbidity and medication interactions and social isolation should be developed. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat wave; survey; behaviour; risk factors; heat-related illnesses; health knowledge; older people heat wave; survey; behaviour; risk factors; heat-related illnesses; health knowledge; older people
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nitschke, M.; Hansen, A.; Bi, P.; Pisaniello, D.; Newbury, J.; Kitson, A.; Tucker, G.; Avery, J.; Dal Grande, E. Risk Factors, Health Effects and Behaviour in Older People during Extreme Heat: A Survey in South Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 6721-6733.

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