cold Elder with dog and blanket

How Thermostats Endanger Elders

Our summers are getting hotter, and our winters are getting colder. In August 2019, a dozen elders died at a nursing home due to a lack of proper air conditioning. In Europe, a string of unprecedented heat waves has killed hundreds of elders, especially those living in older buildings without climate control.

The same concerns apply during the winter. In 2018, Virginia and North Carolina experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls in their history. Hundreds of thousands lost power, and some elders succumbed to the cold.

Who is at Risk?

Elders with mobility issues or mental illnesses have a greater risk of suffering from extreme temperatures. If an elder is unable to care for themselves, they may not be able to use a thermostat. They need assisted living care, which is why they came to a nursing home.

Mobility issues could also prevent elders from moving themselves out of freezing or sweltering room. Instead, nursing home residents often rely on staff members for protection in times of extreme weather.

What You Can Do

If your loved one is in a nursing home, find out if the facility has climate control, a backup generator, and procedures for managing extreme weather. A nursing home that does not have a backup generator has violated Virginia law and should be reported before tragedy strikes.

If you live close to your loved one’s nursing home, you may wish to take them from the facility during times of extreme weather. This could help you and your family ensure that your loved one receives proper care and attention. Even if the power goes out, having someone with your loved one can ensure they recieve the care they need.

If someone you love suffers from nursing home abuse, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney from the Obenshain Law Group, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (540) 318-7360.

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