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Summer safety tips for seniors: How to stay cool in the hot summer heat

Jennie Stephenson
Communications & Fundraising Specialist, Eastern Counties

Stay cool this summer with these safety tips!The summer months are for fun, relaxation, and socialization (especially after being cooped up so long with the COVID-19 pandemic). However, as we age our body changes how it copes with heat, meaning the season might be a little too hot and humid for some. With this in mind, Carefor Eastern Counties has put together some tips to keep you cool this summer.

Remember to stay hydrated

Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration as they don’t sweat or recognize thirst as well as they used to. Plus, many seniors take diuretics to treat certain health conditions which can cause the body to lose fluids. Before heading outside, drink plenty of water and make sure to keep some on hand to have while you’re outdoors.

Dress for the weather, and remember sunblock

Wearing cool, light clothing can help keep you from overheating. Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by wearing sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, and remember to wear your sunglasses and a hat with a brim to protect your eyes and face from the sun’s harmful rays.

Know when to stay inside

Exercising or working in the garden is a great way to stay active and can help feelings of isolation. Plan accordingly so you spend your time outdoors when it’s still nice and cool. The sun is strongest between 10AM and 4PM, so try to avoid labour intensive work during these times and stay inside. If you’re looking for some outdoor activities to do this summer, check out one of Carefor’s Support Centres located in Winchester, Ingleside, Finch, Alexandria or Lancaster – They offer group exercises and activities to seniors to keep you moving.

Keep medications up to date

It’s important to keep your prescriptions and refills up to date, as you may find yourself short on supply with summer vacations and impromptu weekend plans. Also, make sure your medications are being stored properly. Some medications may not work as they’re supposed to if they’re exposed to heat. Talk to your pharmacist if you have concerns or questions about how to store your medications.

Watch out for signs of heat-related illnesses

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke need to be addressed immediately. Heat exhaustion, a mild form of heatstroke includes symptoms of excessive sweating, fatigue, dizziness, intense thirst, cramping in the abdomen, legs, or arms, cool clammy skin, and nausea. If you or someone you’re with is experiencing heat exhaustion, drink water and move to a cool place. Heatstroke, a severe heat-related illness can be fatal if not treated quickly. Symptoms of a heatstroke include body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, red and hot dry skin, no sweating, a throbbing headache, confusion, lethargy and fainting. If you or someone you’re with is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical help or call 911. While you wait for help to arrive, lie down in a cool place.

Follow your local COVID-19 protocols, and stay connected

We’re celebrating so many of our seniors in the Eastern Counties are now vaccinated, and we’re excited to reconnect with you over the summer months. Stay in touch with friends and family, make plans and have fun! Play it safe, and remember we are still in a pandemic and need to be careful a little while longer. Follow any protocols set out by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and if you’re feeling unwell stay home. If you, or someone you know could benefit from engaging with fellow seniors, please connect with one of Carefor’s five Senior Support Centres located in Winchester, Ingleside, Finch, Alexandria, or Lancaster.