With the “dog days” of summer upon us, we can expect soaring temperatures in upstate New York’s Capital Region, as well as across the country. It’s extremely important that during this time of year, people of all ages, not just seniors, take steps to avoid dangerous heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses such as such as dehydration, sunburn, heat stress and heat stroke, can occur in just minutes and have the potential to cause serious, life threatening issues which can lead to permanent disability or death. As adults continue to age, they become more and more vulnerable to experiencing these types of heat-related illnesses.
Regardless of whether or not adults are outside during hot days, it is important that they are actively working to keep their bodies healthy. According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
- They do not adjust as quickly to sudden changes in temperature
- They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat
- They are more likely to take prescription medications that inhibit perspiration or impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature
As summertime temperatures continue to climb, seniors can try the following tips to help beat the summer heat:
- Wear lightweight and loose clothing.
Wearing loose, lightweight clothing can make a significant difference when seniors are trying to stay cool outside, under the summertime sun. Clothing that’s lightweight and loose will be more breathable and will help keep seniors cooler outside. Also, keep in mind that dressing in clothing that is light in color will help to attract less sunlight.
- Drink water, even if you’re not thirsty.
Seniors should aim to drink liquids, especially water, continuously throughout the day, and avoid consuming beverages such as coffee, tea or alcohol in high temperatures, as these can dehydrate people very quickly. Additionally, it is extremely important for seniors to continue to drink water, even when they aren’t thirsty, as the sensation of thirst means that they are already dehydrated.
- Wear sunscreen when outdoors.
As adults age, their skin becomes thinner and more fair thus making them more susceptible to sunburns. According to the CDC’s info on basic sun safety, wear broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and be sure to apply it before going outside. Even on slightly cool or cloudy days, there’s still a risk for sunburn, so be sure to apply it then as well. Additionally, keep in mind that sunscreen wears off and should be reapplied if outside in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.
- Find the nearest cooling center.
There are public places, or cooling centers, where people can go if their homes are not providing a cool, comfortable environment on very hot days. Seniors living in an assisted living facility or in a retirement community will have access to air conditioners and fans. For those seniors living on their own without access to these amenities, however, it is important to know where they can go to stay cool on extremely hot days. The U.S. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency notes that seniors can visit places like public libraries and recreation centers where they will find air-conditioned areas.
If you’re a senior living on your own and are searching for an independent living community, we invite you to consider Eddy Senior Living. For over 87 years, the Eddy has been a name synonymous with the finest senior care and services in Upstate New York. With locations in Troy, Slingerlands, Niskayuna, Queensbury and East Greenbush, the Eddy is conveniently located near many areas within the Capital Region.
Contact us today to speak with a senior living specialist about our senior living options or to schedule your tour!