For many, this is their favorite time of the year. Summer just seems to present bigger opportunities to relax, whether that’s enjoying the great outdoors, hiking, biking, or dining al fresco on a patio. What’s not to love about summer? Well, for some, the heat might be overwhelming and unbearable and for others, the downsides might include…….? Oh, who are we kidding? There are virtually no downsides! While we may have some trouble identifying what not to like about these warmer months, something we don’t have trouble with is passing along some “cool” summer safety tips, sharing with the Amintro community of friends 50+, how to stay cool when it’s hot! This is especially true for seniors who might find themselves a bit more vulnerable to the effects of the sun than back when we were in our twenties and thirties. If you’re looking to have fun, with friends, even during these pandemic times, consider these:
Top Five Tips for Staying Cool When It’s Hot!
- It goes without saying that sun protection is a must. As we age, skin loses some of its natural tone and elasticity and also, it can become thinner. Older seniors may even lose some of their oil and sweat glands over time, meaning less of an ability to cool off on a hot day. Sunscreen should be your new best friend! It may even help protect against wrinkles by preventing sun damage.
- Get stylish – wear a hat. I’ve always loved hats but many of my friends have commented they never felt comfortable wearing one. Those same friends, part of the 50+ crowd like me, are the ones who now say they don’t give a “darn” what people think about them. So go ahead, embrace the chapeau, rock a “lid,” drape a scarf a la Audrey Hepburn or don a Tilly hat while you’re out exploring. Whatever you choose – the point is to cover your head because while we might not care what people think – we should care that we are a tad more susceptible to the effects of too much sun. Heatstroke in older folks can be dangerous. Headaches, nausea, dizziness are all common side-effects but so too is confusion and/or combativeness. You sure don’t want anyone thinking you might have early onset dementia when in reality you’ve just had a little bit too much fun in the sun!
- Find the shade. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we’re old! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine but take frequent cooling breaks in the shade. Drink plenty of water or fruit juices and generally, avoid alcohol unless you are enjoying that dining al fresco we referred to earlier. Hyperthermia can cause a variety of heat-related conditions like edema (swollen feet and ankles) or heat cramps (leg, arm or stomach muscles) and of course, the aforementioned nausea, dizziness or even fainting. Breezy spots along the waterfront if you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has one are great places to relax, unwind and stay cool even while enjoying the sunshine.
- Stay Cool in a Pool. Swim, paddleboard, kayak, canoe – simply jump off a dock and have some fun – you get the idea. Being on or near the water is probably the best way to stay cool when it’s hot, not to mention, doing any of these activities is a great form of exercise. Many communities have small lakes, nearby rivers, conservation areas or even public outdoor pools. Look to see where you can rent equipment if you don’t want to invest in something large like a kayak or have no place to store it.
- Find AC! When all else fails (perhaps even the fan or air conditioning in your condo, home or apartment building) get out and find somewhere with air conditioning. Do some mall walking, a safe way to exercise during extreme heat alerts or visit a seniors center in your community. Enjoy the cool and perhaps make a few new friends along the way!
It’s time to hit the great outdoors!
Many of us who live in cooler climates spend all winter long wishing for summer. Don’t get stuck indoors when it finally arrives because you aren’t adequately prepared for the heat. Seize the opportunity to get outside, indulge in some much-needed vitamin D absorption and enjoy a beverage in a beer garden or Prosecco on a patio. Just make sure you do it safely! Summer doesn’t last long, enjoy it while it’s here – perhaps with an Amintro friend you recently made online. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a chance to meet up in person – even if social distancing rules still apply in your area. Happy Summer!
By Sheralyn Roman