Staying Cool: When it’s Hot, Hot, Hot!

Our aging population is more active today.  Experts tell us that as we age our bodies can’t handle the heat as when we were younger.  A senior body often doesn’t detect the heat, and will not begin sweating until body temperature has skyrocketed.  What’s more, our body’s cooling devices don’t operate as efficiently as we age.

Summer’s scorching temperatures don’t have to wilt a senior’s ability to enjoy the season.  By taking some common-sense approaches to staying cool and hydrated, seniors can spend quality time with family and friends outdoors.

*Staying hydrated is essential.  When the temperature soars, the body keeps cool naturally through perspiring, which results in a loss of water.  Be sure to keep drinking all day long, even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Recommended amounts for everyone, not just seniors, are at least 8-10 8-ounce cups per day.  Water is best, but fruit juice will also hydrate.

*Take care of how you dress.  Try to wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton.  Light colors reflect the sun’s rays, whereas dark colors absorb the heat of the sun.

*Be sure to protect your skin with sunblock.  Use any and all means to keep the sun from directly hitting your skin.  You can wear a hat, sunglasses, and especially important is sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.

*When the day is really hot, avoid being outside between 11am and 3pm, which is generally the hottest part of the day.  If you live in a climate with high humidity, the heat can be especially dangerous, and it is harder for your body to cool down naturally through perspiring.

In the heat, try to check on your loved one at least twice a day.  If your senior begins to experience dizziness, breathing problems, rapid heartbeat, headache, nausea, or fainting, call 911, or if they reside in an assisted living community, press the emergency call button for immediate help.

Don’t let the heat of summer rule your days.  Implement the tips listed above into your daily routine during the dog days of summer to help keep cool.

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