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.
Keywords: heat wave; survey; behaviour; risk factors; heat-related illnesses; health knowledge; older people
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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.
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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(12):6721-6733.
Nitschke, Monika; Hansen, Alana; Bi, Peng; Pisaniello, Dino; Newbury, Jonathan; Kitson, Alison; Tucker, Graeme; Avery, Jodie; Dal Grande, Eleonora. 2013. "Risk Factors, Health Effects and Behaviour in Older People during Extreme Heat: A Survey in South Australia." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 12: 6721-6733.