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Keeping Cool: Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Posted on 
August 2, 2023

Independent living offers a carefree lifestyle that makes it easier to get out and enjoy all that Potomac Falls has to offer. Summer is the perfect time to explore the area, but it also puts you at risk of heat-related health concerns. Seniors can be particularly susceptible to the effects of heat. Learn more about senior wellness during summer, and follow these hot weather safety tips for older adults.

Risks of Hot Weather for Older Adults

Hot weather can cause health issues for people of all ages, but older adults are often more susceptible because of other health factors. Health conditions related to your heart, lungs and kidneys can put you at higher risk. Some medications, such as heart medications, diuretics and sedatives, affect your body's natural cooling process, which can cause you to overheat faster.

Know the Symptoms of Being Too Hot

Feeling hot and sweating as soon as you step out of your Independent Living home is common, but how do you know if you're too hot? The sun and heat usually cause issues if you aren't well-hydrated or you stay outside too long, especially in direct sunlight. Your body might give you subtle clues at first that increase in severity if you don't cool down. Symptoms of being too hot include:

  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Cramping, especially in your stomach, arms and legs
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Heat rash, which looks like small blisters, often in clusters
  • Extreme thirst
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Skin that feels cold and clammy to the touch
  • Increased body temperature
  • Lack of sweating or dry, flushed skin
  • Confusion
  • Changes to your pulse

If you feel minor signs of too much heat, moving to a cool place and drinking fluids can help. Contact a healthcare provider if your symptoms don't improve. If your symptoms are more severe, seek medical attention right away.  

Keep an Eye on the Weather

When you're planning outdoor activities, check the weather first, so you can plan for the temperatures. Look at the heat index, which factors in the humidity, to see how hot it feels. On especially hot days, consider staying in and enjoying Independent Living amenities to stay cool, or visit spaces around town, such as the library or movie theater, that are air conditioned.

Prepare Before You Head Out

Using the weather forecast, plan your day to avoid getting overheated. For instance, go for your outdoor walk or jog in the early morning hours before the intense sun hits. Choosing a shady spot for your outdoor activities or picking indoor activities on hotter days can help you stay healthy. When you spend time outdoors, keep it short and make sure you have access to water and air conditioning if you need it. The forecast can also help you choose the best clothes and accessories for the weather.

Choose Your Clothes Properly

Focus on functionality rather than fashion when you're heading out in the heat. Light-colored clothing made from lightweight, breathable fabrics helps you stay cooler. Wearing a hat with a brim can shield you from ultraviolet rays and keep you cooler. Neck fans and cooling towels can also help on hot days. Don't forget your sunscreen any time you're outdoors, even if it's just a quick trip.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration helps your body regulate its temperature, which can prevent overheating. Drinking lots of water also helps replenish the fluids you lose as you sweat. Find an insulated reusable water bottle you like, fill it with water and bring it with you wherever you go in the summer. Drink plenty of water at home too, so you stay ahead of your hydration needs. These tips can help you stay hydrated:

  • Flavor your water with fresh fruit to make it more appealing.
  • Drink water with every meal and snack.
  • Use a hydration tracker on your phone to remind you to drink more water.
  • Eat hydrating foods, such as fruit and veggies with high water content.
  • Start and end your day with a glass of water.
  • Pay attention to your urine color to know if you need more water — dark yellow urine means you need to increase your hydration.

Know What to Avoid in the Heat

You're used to meeting any challenge head-on, but it's also important to know when to ease up on outdoor activities. Avoid any strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Pay attention to your body, and slow down if you notice signs of overheating. It can also help to avoid activities in direct sunlight. Shaded areas let you enjoy the fresh air with slightly cooler temperatures.

Schedule a Visit

Falcons Landing offers high-quality Independent Living in Potomac Falls in a community where those who've served our country can enjoy life and share common bonds with neighbors. Our team is ready to serve you and support you in your active lifestyle. If you're ready to see Falcons Landing for yourself, contact us to schedule a visit, or call us at 703-404-5100.

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