Each year, thousands of seniors experience dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Don’t let this be you! Older adults can still enjoy the outside and have a great summer regardless of hot seasonal temperatures. In making small alterations to your day-to-day activities and drinking plenty of water, you and your home will stay breezy all summer long.
Tips to Avoid Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Alter your diet
Make sure to cut back on alcohol and caffeine consumption. These substances are diuretics; they will dehydrate you and make it harder for you to sweat and stay cool. Additionally, even if you spend most of your day indoors, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water nearby. Also pay attention to your portion sizes. Eating a big meal forces your body into metabolic mode, which will cause your body temp to rise. Eating frequent snacks throughout the day will alleviate this problem.
Opt for cool activities
Be mindful when planning outdoor activities. Seniors should avoid activities that take place during the hottest hours of the day between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Consider planning a day that includes low impact exercises, such as light walking or a game of Bocce ball with friends. Another option is bowling or going to the movies—fun activities that include air conditioning!
Chill your pulse points
If you’re breaking a sweat and looking for a quick fix, run cold water over your wrists for a minute or so every hour. You can also put a cold rag over your forehead or neck; or place an ice pack or a bottle filled with ice water on your ankles or under your knees. Applying cold water to these pressure points will cool down your entire body.
Get the low down
You want to keep the temps in your home as cool as possible. If probable, take a shower around dinner time because this is when your home starts to cool off. This way the steamy air won’t make your home too hot. Also alter your cooking regime. Try to use the microwave instead of the oven when preparing meals.
Be a fan fanatic
Fans are a great a way to stay cool in hot summer temps. Instead of wasting your money on excessive air conditioning use this summer, invest in a quality ceiling fan or two. If you’re nervous about the installation process, try a box fan or hand-held spray fan—the water and cold air combination in the spray fan is a great tool to keep you cool when spending time outdoors.
Many seniors hesitate to keep windows open for security reasons. Install safety latches that will hinder windows from being opened from the outside but will still allow air to come in. Maintaining adequate ventilation is essential, especially if there’s no air conditioning system. Keep in mind you can also integrate screens in all of your windows. There are several easy-to-install options that have been precut and preassembled available at your local home improvement store.