This wonderful hot summer weather draws people outdoors to enjoy sunshine and outdoor activities. Along with these summertime benefits come the mixed blessings of heat. Seniors are particularly vulnerable in hot weather, especially to heat exhaustion or worse.
By following some common sense tips, seniors can fully enjoy the good summer weather and avoid overexposure to the sun and heat.
Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothes. Lighter colors and cotton materials are best for warm weather. Wear U/V skin protection while also donning a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to protect from overexposure to the sun.
Look for shaded areas such as a covered porch or under a tree to enjoy an activity. Heat can impact seniors as easily indoors as it can outdoors, so be sure air conditioning is used. Lower shades to keep light and heat out. Open windows and be sure to cross-ventilate a room by keeping inside doors open when air conditioning is unavailable. Consider visiting or volunteering at a place with air conditioning on hot days. Another great place to go to on a hot day is the mall. If you don’t want to shop, sit in the big comfy chairs and people watch.
There is a good reason we slow down in the summer. You should limit your strenuous activities to early or late in the day. Be sure to take plenty of breaks if you have to be outside and seek the shade when possible.
Keep handy a cool, damp cloth or towel. Place the damp, cool washcloth on your forehead. In addition to your forehead, the wrists are also a good location for a cooling, damp cloth. My mom used to tell me to place my wrists under the tap and run the cold water on them.
This one may sound strange but it’s true… eating spicy foods like hot peppers, fresh ginger and black pepper will help lower your body temperature through sweating.
Grill or microwave, it’s a great way to keep your house cool. Don’t add to the heat by using your oven. Spring and summer are great times for grilling outdoors. You’ll enjoy the experience and keep the heat out of the house. If you do cook indoors, use the microwave as much as possible.
This next suggestion is my favourite… ice cream, popsicles and other frozen treats are the way to go. Also, drink plenty of water, while avoiding caffeine. Eat cool or cold foods such as sandwiches and salads. Fresh vegetables and fruits generally contain water too and can help hydrate while offering a healthy snack. The key is to stay hydrated.
If you are going out and don’t have air conditioning or don’t want it on while you are gone, close up your house and draw blinds and drapes so the house stays darker and thus cooler.
The one thing I will never do is complain about the heat, we’re so lucky to live where we do so finding a healthy alternative to cooling down is better than whining. If you have an interesting way to beat the heat please send me an email at [email protected]. I love hearing from you and the more information I receive the more I can share with others.
Happy Summer Everyone!