Summer; it’s the time of year when we hit the beach, take off to the cottage, and barbecue on a regular basis. But I can’t say that I’m a lover of the extreme heat we’ve been having these days. If I were forced to choose between freezing in the Arctic poles or melting in the Sahara sands, I would choose the former over the latter; over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beautiful, mild-tempered days where you can comfortably sit outside and bask in the warm rays of the sun, but there is a limit for everyone, and I think I’ve reached mine this week.
Cottage country is a great, mini-getaway from the realities (and intense heat) of the city. But a week spent here has given me quite an appreciation for air conditioning and how important it is for keeping our seniors cool. It has been HOT! The long nights of tossing and turning in the thick, humid air has resulted in little-to-no sleep, attempts at curling up on the sun porch where a slight breeze may travel through (if you’re lucky) and zombie-like appearances in the morning as everyone sits sipping their coffee in a silent, somewhat somber, state.
Needless to say, if we aren’t careful, heat can get the better of us, and it’s important to do all we can to stay cool. Taking minor precautions before spending time outdoors on blistering days can help prevent heat-related illnesses, says The Care Guide Source for Seniors, and staying hydrated is the key.
Dehydration is common among the elderly. As the body ages, sweat glands don’t work as well and blood vessels carry less blood to the skin, so the body becomes less tolerant to heat. The Canadian Food Guide suggests that you drink water every day, especially in extreme heat. The average person needs eight to 12 glasses of water daily to maintain body temperatures and transport wastes and nutrients. The Care Guide suggests that if outdoor activity is necessary on a hot day, be sure to take frequent breaks in the shade and always have water with or near you.
If it is unbearably hot, jump in and go for a swim in the closest body of water – be it pool, lake or ocean. It’s also a great way to stay active and exercise. Or try to pick an indoor activity to do. Go shopping, visit museums, go bowling or indoor mini-putting, anywhere that you can have fun, enjoy your outing, and stay cool while doing it.
What do you do during the summer months to stay cool? All this typing has caused me to break a sweat – I’m off to do 1-10 below!
10 Tips: How you can beat the Heat (provided by The Care Guide)
- Relax and put off chores and any strenuous activity.
- Stay indoors during the hottest times of the day.
- Close your shades to keep out the sunshine.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lower level in your home—heat rises.
- Check with your local agency for cool places you can go such as libraries and public buildings, or a mall with air conditioning.
- Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses or use an umbrella.
- Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. This helps keep your body cool.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
- If you have a chronic medical condition, talk with your doctor about additional precautions you should take to prevent heat related illness. Some conditions and medications may place you at higher risk.
- Neighbors, friends or family should check in on older people in their homes to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.