Summer is here and judging by the 90+ degree heatwave we just had, it is going to be a loooong three months.

Back in August 2009, I wrote a blog on “Summertime Tips.”

But, in doing research to write this current blog on “Heat Warnings in Seniors,” I wanted to review some points from my previous blog that are still important today.

Below are some tips from to help us through this oppressive, unbearable, Philadelphia/South Jersey heat:

What’s The Hurry?

Summer should be enjoyed, so why rush? The faster you move the more your body heats, especially in warm weather. Slow down. (Now, if I could only listen to my own advice…)

Cool Shades

Plan outdoor activities for cooler early morning hours. Look for shaded areas such as a covered porch or under a tree to enjoy an activity.

Heat can impact everyone as easily indoors as it can outdoors, so be sure air conditioning is used. Lowering the shades and closing the door only creates a stove-like environment where the heat lingers and settles in the room. Open windows and be sure to cross-ventilate a room. Consider visiting a place with air conditioning on hot days, such as a local senior center or the library.

A Need to Scream for Ice Cream

Ice cream, popsicles and other frozen treats are refreshing on a warm day. But, if you’re diabetic, make sure to stick to sugarless desserts.

Also, drink plenty of water, juice and sports drinks while avoiding caffeine and monitoring the drinks’ sugar content.

Eat cool or cold foods such as sandwiches and salads.

Fresh vegetables and fruits, such as watermelon, honey dew, and canteloupe, generally contain water and can help hydrate while offering a healthy snack.

The key is to stay hydrated.

Hot Fashion to Stay Cool

Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothes. Lighter colors and cotton materials are best for warm weather.

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.

Consult Your Doctor

Signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion are less pronounced in seniors due to aging, certain medications and chronic conditions. Speak with a doctor about how these circumstances could change your body’s ability to manage heat.

Signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, weakness, nausea, heavy sweating or no sweating, rapid pulse, confusion or fainting. Move the senior to a cool place. Provide cool water or juice. Apply cool compresses and call for medical assistance if necessary.

So, with the summer months beating down upon us, try to follow the above tips to keep ourselves cool and hydrated. But, remember to keep a close eye on our seniors, as they present with signs of heat exhaustion differently and sometimes more subtly that we do.

About Janie

Janie is the Director of Care Coordination for Rothkoff Law Group, and elder law firm. Janie brings a variety of experiences to the team as a graduate of the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research with her Masters in Social Service. Janie has focused her efforts on empowering and advocating for her elderly clients with the Senior Services Department of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey, and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Janie obtained a business degree from St. Joseph’s University. When not in the office, Janie helps to organize and host events for the Filipino-American Association of South Jersey. In addition, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to Europe and Asia, and at the Jersey Shore.

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