The summer months in Cleveland are an exciting time to get outside and enjoy the weather.
While this may be enjoyable for most people, seniors need to take a few extra precautions during the warmer months to stay safe.
Last year, MetroHealth reported they had an increase in heat exhaustion cases in 2018 following a heat wave as temperatures hit upwards of 90 degrees.
People over 65 are more susceptible to heat-related health problems because their bodies have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the main heat-related issues that can affect aging people.
Nevertheless, you can enjoy the warm weather with your family and friends as long as you’re cautious. Beat the heat this summer with these four senior safety tips.
1. Stay Cool
The summer months in Cleveland present the perfect opportunity for outdoor activities like walks in the park or gardening. But depending on the hot temperatures outdoors, seniors may need to cool off in an air conditioned location, especially when the sun is the hottest in the late afternoon.
If you’re fortunate to have air conditioning in your home; use it. Your electricity bill may be a little higher, but keeping cool and comfortable at home is worth it— especially for your health and safety.
If you don’t have an air conditioner and cost is a factor, you may be eligible for assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP helps communities in Cleveland and beyond with extreme heat-related needs by offering assistance with electric bill payment and energy-related home repairs.
If all else fails, you can always escape the heat by going to air conditioned locations like the library, mall or movies. Consider going during the hottest part of the day, then head home once it starts to cool down in the evening.
2. Keep Skin Protected
Although everyone should keep their skin protected from the sun, seniors should be especially careful. Over time, our skin becomes fragile and dry, which makes it more sensitive to the sun. Always use sunscreen SPF 15 or higher and reapply every two hours.
Make sure your summer wardrobe includes loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing. Consider natural fabrics like cotton. Natural fiber allows air circulate easier, making the heat more bearable. Also, wear hats and sunglasses to further protect yourself from the sun.
3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical during the summer, as dehydration affects your ability to regulate temperature. Dehydration is common among seniors— 48% of aging adults admitted to a hospital show signs of dehydration.
Try and drink about eight cups of water a day and bring a water bottle if you plan on being outdoors for most of the day.
Even if you feel like you’re getting enough water, watch for signs of dehydration. Symptoms include:
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
4. Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses
It’s natural to feel flushed in warmer weather. However, it’s important to know the signs of heat-related illnesses, so you can immediately get help if you feel unwell. Some symptoms include:
- Fast, weak pulse
- Heavy sweating
- High body temperature
- Muscle cramps
If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cooler place and call for help immediately.
Make the Most of Family Time This Summer
As you make plans to spend time with your family this summer, make the most of it and have discussions about important life questions. Get access to 25+ conversation-starting questions and download Busch’s Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation.