6 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat
As much as we all love the summer, sometimes that heat can get a little too strong for some of us, especially older loved ones. According a recent study, 40% of people who suffer from heat related fatalities each summer are over the age of 65. That can be an alarming statistic, but knowing who is at a higher risk is good because it can help us prevent injuries.
What makes seniors so much more vulnerable to heat related injuries? Well for one, as we get older our bodies don’t regulate temperature as well (think about going to an elderly loved one’s house and seeing the heat blasting). There’s also a lot of medications with side-effects that can affect how people’s bodies handle the heat because they contribute to dehydration. If someone has a heart condition it can also affect the body’s ability to circulate blood properly.
Whether your loved one lives independently or lives with you at home, there’s a few ways you can help prevent that summer heat from causing problems. Below we compiled a list to help stay cool
1. Have the AC checked at the beginning of the summer. We all know how it goes… you don’t find out your AC isn’t working until the hottest day of the year, which also happens to be a day the AC place is closed, and then when you do finally get a hold of them they won’t be able to make it out for a week. Avoid this and call early. Remember to check the filters too make sure air is able to pump through the house.
2. Make sure transportation is available. If your loved one lives independently, help make it easier for them to get around to cool places. If you have the time to offer rides set that up, or use services like Dial-A-Ride to get around (Dial-A-Ride is also wheel chair accessible).
3. Drink water. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to protect yourself, and drinking a glass or two of water is the best way to stay hydrated. If water is getting a boring, add some summer fruits and citruses to the mix for a fun little pick me up. Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate a person, so try to avoid those drinks at least during the hotter times of day.
4. Eat hydrating foods. Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, but sometimes you need something different. The good news is summer is full of yummy treats with lots of water to help you stay hydrated. And being in the central valley, we have better access to these foods than most. A few of the most hydrating summer foods include:
· Watermelon (95% water)
· Cantaloupe (90% water)
· Cucumbers (95% water)
· Strawberries (92% water)
5. Get outdoor stuff done in the mornings, then stay inside. Once it starts warming up stay inside and take advantage of that air conditioner! If your loved one doesn’t have an air conditioner, be sure to close the windows and blinds so the sun isn't adding extra heat to rooms, then get some good fans around the house. If that isn’t enough, try going to the library in the afternoon to enjoy a nice summer read in a free, cool area. Also check out LOEL Senior Center’s activity calendar to see if your loved one can join for an affordable lunch and afternoon activities in a cool space.
6. Relax. Your loved one's body is already working hard to keep cool, don’t add more work by going for a walk at 2:00 PM in the hot summer sun. If your loved one does enjoy being active, encourage them to move activities to the morning hours when it’s cooler. Or look into local seniors water aerobics. Hutchins Street Square for example has an indoor pool with hours specifically for seniors, and there are plenty of water aerobics classes offered through local gyms.
Happy summer and stay cool!