High 80s, low 90s, no rain. This kind of weather forecast is becoming all-too-familiar throughout Michigan this summer. And while these temps make it easy to get outside and enjoy a ball game or a BBQ with family and friends, they can create a potentially dangerous situation when it comes to dehydration and overheating – especially for seniors.
Along with the physiological changes of aging, many common medications and other lifestyle factors can actually make seniors more prone to dehydration-related issues and complications than younger people. That’s why we wanted to share three great tips to help seniors stay cool doing the summer season.
1. Wear the right clothes for hot temps
Along with its own set of activities, summer also has its own recommended wardrobe – with an emphasis on light, cool, and comfortable. For days like today that make it into the 90s, the Center for Disease Control recommends sticking to lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wearing the right clothing will help your body’s natural cooling mechanisms do their job, and will help keep you from overheating.
2. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather from inside
Summer makes us want to go outside and experience the sunshine – especially after a long and bitter-cold winter. However, one of the best ways to beat the heat on these scorching summer days is to stay inside, preferably where it’s air-conditioned. Direct exposure to sunlight, even briefly, can not only raise body temps but can also cause sunburn – a condition which makes it virtually impossible to cool down and can easily damage skin.
If you do have to head outside in the heat on a day like today, be sure to wear sunscreen and weather-appropriate clothing like a hat and sunglasses. Carrying an umbrella can also be a great way to limit direct sun exposure.
If you’re looking for a place to cool down, many movie theaters, senior centers, museums, and public libraries tend to be comfortably conditioned, so consider spending your time there if you don’t have access to air conditioning at home.
3. Hydrate with water and fluid-rich foods
As we age, achieving proper hydration becomes harder and harder – which makes getting the appropriate amount of fluids a challenge every day. Combine that with the 90-plus-degree temperatures, and drinking the proper amount of water becomes even more important.
Along with drinking the proper amount of H20, seniors can help fight dehydration by eating a diet full of hydration-rich foods. These include cucumbers, watermelon, ice burg lettuce, radishes, and more. Though these foods can be helpful in the fight against dehydration, they aren’t a replacement for getting the proper amount of water in your diet, so be sure to be drink plenty of water, too.
The dog days of summer can be a great time to spend with family and friends, but it can also mean dangerously high temperatures for many. While no general advice like the tips above will replace conversations with your doctor and healthcare providers, we hope these tips will help you stay cool, beat the heat, and enjoy all of the fun activity that summer brings.
Note: If you’re prone to bouts of heat-induced dizziness or sickness, or have problems staying hydrated, be sure to have a conversation with your doctor. These tips are not a replacement for medical advice or the opinion of a medical professional.