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Hot Weather Safety for Seniors

As we move through Spring towards Summer, and the temperatures rise every day, it’s important to be aware of the risks and dangers that heat and high summer temperatures can pose to seniors. People aged 65 and older are more prone to suffering the ill effects of heat stress, so it is important for senior caretakers and or older adults to know the risks and how best to handle them.

Older adults are more prone to heat stress for a number of reasons. For one, with age comes a loss of ability to adjust to changes in temperature. Older adults are also more likely to have chronic conditions or be prescribed medications that affect their ability to regulate temperature or sweat.

The best rule of thumb to prevent heat stress is to stay cool and stay hydrated. Try to stay indoors with air conditioning as much as possible. If your home or residence doesn’t have air conditioning available, consider visiting with a friend or relative who does during the hottest parts of the day, or consult with your city’s government for information about cooling centers accessible to the public where air conditioning can be enjoyed.

Equally important is increasing your intake of water and other hydrating fluids. Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you feel thirsty. If your doctor has you on medication that limits your fluid intake, consult with them to find out how much you should be drinking.

Avoid any strenuous activity during the afternoon when it’s hottest, and the sun is at it’s most intense. If you have to be outside, wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect from the sun, and make sure to take plenty of breaks in the shade.