Beating the Heat: 5 Tips for Seniors to Stay Cool
I know from experience that healthcare facilities, specifically providing assisted living or residential care, frequently alter their activities in the summer to better serve the seniors and residents – ensuring their safety as the weather gets warmer.
Here are 5 tips for seniors to keep in mind to beat the heat:
- Stay hydrated – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a special report earlier this month that outlines some recommendations for seniors and heat. One key item is staying hydrated. Whether you live at home independently, with healthcare services brought to you, or live in a location such as an assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility with assistance, you must ensure that you drink the right amount of water! You should be drinking 4-8 glasses of water each day, regardless of whether or not you feel thirsty.
- Don’t live in the sun – Think about when you were younger and spent the whole day outside in the sun. Remember how little energy you had at the end of the day? This doesn’t mean never going outside and confining yourself to your room, but make sure that you don’t spend too much time outside. When you do go out, make sure that you use sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 or higher. Remember – even if it is cloudy or hazy, the sun will have an effect on your body.
- Limit your activity and exercise – Senior.com recommends that you limit the amount of strenuous physical activity as the temperature rises. This doesn’t mean you should just stop exercising – try doing that in the morning or later evening when the temperature is lower than peak hours. Make sure that you’re taking frequent breaks and keep hydrating during your activities. Remember, if you’re able to exercise in a gym that is air conditioned, that is a great route to take!
- Be aware of your medications – As we’ve said, heat speeds up the dehydration process. For seniors taking medication that have side-effects like electrolyte and fluid loss, this presents a significant risk. Check with your pharmacist and doctor to verify that your medications will not cause you this risk.
- Know the warning signs – Heat exhaustion and dehydration will appear through many different signs – weakness, nausea, changes in how you sweat, rapid pulse rates, and fainting. Always be aware of how you and others are feeling when outdoors.
What other tips do you have for keeping cool? Leave some suggestions below!