In a perfect summer, the weather would always be a cloudless 70 degrees with low (or no!) humidity, a nice breeze coming in off the lake, and someone bringing us umbrella drinks all day.
But alas, even great summers can often bring high heat and humidity. And hot, muggy weather can be extra-uncomfortable as we age and our maturing bodies start reacting differently to higher temperatures.
Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors
Hot weather safety is important at any age. But people who are 65 years and older are often more prone to heat-related health problems. That’s why it’s vital for you to be aware of how heat affects your body, and learn ways to keep cool during summer.
Overheating is preventable when you reduce risk factors and create favorable conditions during the hottest hours of the day.
This Summer, Learn the Word Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia occurs when your body temperature rises significantly above its normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It can definitely be hazardous to your health, just like its wintertime cousin hypothermia – a lower-than-normal body temperature.
Hyperthermia can affect you more in the warmer summer months if your body’s natural heat-regulating mechanisms aren’t performing quite the way they used to. It can become more common as the human body ages.
If this is happening to you, you’ll probably feel it: fatigue, dizziness, cramps and heat exhaustion are all symptoms of hyperthermia, and they shouldn’t be ignored.
Risk Factors for Heat-Related Health Issues:
There are dozens of factors that can increase your chances of overheating on hot days. You can control some of them, and you can be aware of the rest. Either way, take them seriously.
- High blood pressure – Many mature adults develop high blood pressure, and it can become more acute – and dangerous – in hot weather.
- Alcohol use – Try to limit those umbrella drinks!
- Dehydration – Stay hydrated by drinking more fluids – water, fruit juices, even the occasional beer. All help to keep your body more hydrated, and that’s a good thing. (Check out our post on “6 Ways to Stay Hydrated this Summer.”)
- Heart, lung and kidney diseases, plus any condition that causes weakness or fever, can be aggravated by extreme heat.
- Multiple medications – Review your list of prescriptions with your doctor yearly, especially when you start taking a new medication.
- Reduced perspiration – This could be triggered by an unexpected interaction between two or more prescriptions, or by a change in the way your body processes the medications. Talk with your doctor to find out for sure.
- Age-related changes to skin – It could be caused by diminished blood circulation or sweat glands not functioning properly could.
- Being over- or underweight – Being at either extreme allows heat to stress your body more easily.
- Living without air conditioning – This can be unbearable on the hottest days, especially for those with chronic medical condition. Stay indoors, or seek out a public space that’s air conditioned – library, mall, movie theater, senior center or a friend’s house.
More ways to stay ahead of the heat:
As always, common sense can go a long way to help you cope with summer’s hot, humid days. Here are some specific tips:
- Drink plenty of liquids
- If you don’t have air conditioning, go find some (see suggestions above). A good fan can help too, but AC is better.
- When outside, stay in the shade and exert yourself as little as possible.
- Stay inside if you have a chronic medical condition, especially during air pollution alerts.
- In extreme heat, apply an ice pack or cold wet cloth to your wrists, neck, armpits.
Let us help you in your search for the best solutions in Senior Living. Explore our website <link to www.radiantseniorliving.com/> to find a Radiant Senior Living community near you.
For more information on Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors, please see these resources:
- Ten Tips to Help Seniors Stay Cool in Hot Weather via DailyCaring.com
- Warm Weather Safety for Seniors via US News
- Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone via One Call Medical Alert