Summer is a wonderful time of year with sunshine, blooming flowers, and warm air. Summer can also be too hot, rendering outside activities more dangerous. Overexposure to heat in the summer can be especially unsafe for our elderly loved ones. Heat related illness is nothing to take lightly, and coupled with agingrelated changes, medications, or other health conditions can greatly affect our elderly loved ones health. Summer safety precautions need to be taken to enjoy all that summer has to offer.

When temperatures warm up, climbing over 80 degrees, older adults need to be proactive at keeping cool. Here is a small list of ways to help our elderly loved ones enjoy summer and avoid overheating:

  • Avoid direct sunlight where possible. Consider outdoor activities in the early morning or when the sun starts to set in the evening.
  • Dress appropriately. Light colored,loose fitting clothing is best on warmer days. Dark clothing absorbs heat and can cause overheating. A brimmed hat is a great addition to your outfit!
  • Utilize air-conditioned spaces as much as possible. Most libraries, malls, and even movie theaters are air conditioned. Check out a local senior center near you for some cool air as well.
  • Drink plenty of water, clear juice, or other liquids that are caffeine free. Avoid alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol cause you to lose water which causes frequent urination.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen! Apply a liberal amount of sun protection with a 15 SPF or higher to help avoid sunburn. Bugs areoften more abundant in the summer so remember your insect repellent too.
  • Did you know that the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP helps adults 65 and older with limited income cover the cost of energy bills and even the cost of an air conditioner. Contact your states LIHEAP program by calling 1-866-674-6327.

Dehydration signs include; weakness, headache, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Heat Exhaustion signs include; heavy sweating, or no sweating at all; tiredness, paleness, clammy skin, headache, dizziness, even fainting.

Heat Stroke signs include; red, dry, hot skin; headache; dizziness; confusion or fatigue.

Heat Syncope signs include; dizziness and fainting.

By Chusa Sylvestre
Copy Editor, Jessica Warren