Summer Health and Wellness Tips for Seniors
Whether you're a seasoned sun-seeker or prefer to stay indoors when the temperature rises, knowing how to stay safe and healthy in hot weather is a must. Below, we'll reveal our top four health and wellness tips for seniors to help you enjoy the summer in your Independent Living community.
1. Eat Fresh, Seasonal Produce
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Seasonal produce is usually more delicious and nutritious than crops grown out of season because it requires fewer chemicals and preservatives to thrive and stay fresh and juicy. Even better, local produce is generally healthier because of the minimal transit times from farm to store — crops grown abroad lose nutrients during shipping.
Fresh fruit and vegetables often have a high water content, helping you stay hydrated in hot weather. Juicy produce, such as fresh lettuce, cucumber and watermelon, is ideal for topping up water levels. Adding locally-grown tomatoes to salads is an easy way to add water-rich veggies to your meals while increasing your vitamin C intake.
2. Wear Sun Protection
Seniors aged 65 and older have a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to normal skin changes. However, you can reduce your risk and keep your skin healthy by protecting it from the sun. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 whenever you go outside, and reapply it regularly. You can also minimize your skin's exposure to strong sunlight by wearing a brimmed hat to protect your scalp and face, staying in the shade during the hottest parts of the day and wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes.
If you get sunburned, knowing how to care for damaged skin can help reduce pain and minimize the risk of infection. Avoid exposing your skin to sunlight until the sunburn heals, and apply creams designed to soothe the inflammation, such as aloe vera gel. Popping blisters can increase the chance of an infection, so it's best to allow them to heal on their own.
Sunburn can increase your risk of dehydration — drinking more water than usual can help reduce the risk. If you're concerned, seek advice from your healthcare provider, or if you're a resident at the Aberdeen Village Independent Living community, our health care team can help answer questions.
3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is particularly important for seniors because changes in body composition make dehydration more likely. While eight glasses of water per day is a good rule of thumb, you may need to drink more during hot weather. According to the Cleveland Clinic, thirst is a sign that your body is already mildly dehydrated, so you shouldn't wait until you feel parched to drink your next glass. Drinking small sips throughout the day can be helpful if you find it difficult to drink larger volumes in a single sitting.
You don't have to stick to plain old water to stay hydrated. Milk and 100% fruit juices can also help prevent dehydration and are rich sources of nutrients. However, the high sugar content of many juices can cause blood sugar issues for seniors with diabetes and other health conditions. If you want the fruity taste without the sugar, consider adding fresh fruit slices to your water for extra flavor.
Caffeinated drinks are diuretics, which means they make you urinate more. Therefore, reducing the amount of tea and coffee you drink on hot days can help keep you hydrated.
Dehydration can increase your risk of hospitalization and may make the symptoms of certain conditions worse. Therefore, knowing how to spot the signs of dehydration in yourself and others is crucial. Symptoms often include:
- Muscle pain
- Flushed skin
- Irritability, confusion or anxiety
Your health status is a factor when it comes to the amount of water you need to stay healthy. Therefore, it's worth seeking medical advice if you have heart failure, kidney disease or another condition affecting hydration.
4. Spend Time Indoors on Hotter Days
Spending time indoors, especially in buildings with air conditioning, is an effective way to beat the heat. Staying inside your Independent Living apartment during the hottest periods offers protection, but you don't have to miss out on leisure or social activities to stay cool. When cabin fever strikes, consider heading to an air-conditioned local venue, such as the library, movie theater or shopping mall, to have fun while staying safe.
Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms of heat stroke. Symptoms in older adults typically include:
- Unusual behavior
- Reduced sweating
- Flushed skin
- Unusually fast or slow heartbeat
Schedule a Tour
At Aberdeen Village, we understand the importance of staying safe in hot weather. Our outstanding health services can help you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, and our residents can also escape the heat in our indoor swimming pool. Call 913-213-1686 to schedule a visit today to experience our amenities and explore your options for Independent Living in Olathe, KS.