Heat safety tips for seniors


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Tomorrow is July 1 already, and while it is hot, it is only going to get hotter! Seniors can be particularly susceptible to the heat. The fact that many seniors don’t view themselves as older adults makes them more vulnerable to the dangers of heat.  That’s why it’s important to serve as a second set of eyes for family, friends and neighbors who may be at risk.  Important, too, for seniors to realize that they might be vulnerable.

The following are ways for seniors to continue to have fun in the summer and get their work done without jeopardizing their health:

  • Keep a glass of water in every room to quickly and easily access fluids.  Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Go through the closet and remove all heavy materials, long sleeves and dark colors.  Store them until fall.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day.  Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
  • Save household chores, particularly washing and drying clothes and operating the dishwasher, for evenings, when the weather is cooler.
  • Take a nap during high heat times – between 3 and 5 p.m. in the afternoon, for instance – or find a good television program or movie to watch.
  • Keep shades down and blinds pulled.  Keeping a house tightly closed is more energy efficient.
  • If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if yours is broken, spend the afternoon at the mall.  You can shop or just enjoy cool drinks and a good book.
  • Eat light.  Foods like proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • If increased use of a central air conditioning system causes higher utility bills that are a problem for your budget, consider purchasing a fan or small window unit that can cool down a home at a lower cost.

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