If you recall, summer 2018 ended up being a scorcher! And it won’t be long until the temperatures soar once again. During the hot months, Mystic Valley Elder Services recommends that it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the older adults in our lives. Elders are much more likely to develop heat-related illnesses than younger people because as we age our bodies don’t adjust as well to drastic changes of temperature. Also, some medications that older adults are taking can affect the way their bodies regulate heat. Here are some tips and resources to help you beat the heat.
• Slow down, and avoid strenuous activity. Don’t try to do too much on a hot day.
• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
• Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Stay hydrated.
• Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages, as they can actually dehydrate your body.
• Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
• Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
• Stay indoors as much as possible.
• Air-conditioning can provide a lot of relief in a summer like this one. On the most unbearably hot days when it’s too hot for fans to be effective, air-conditioners can even help you stay safe. If you don’t have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate perspiration, which cools your body.
• Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned schools, libraries, your local senior center, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
• The heat affects more than just people. Our pets can be in danger when the temperatures reach highs. Keep your animals safe and healthy in this heat. Do not leave them in a hot car or without water.
In extreme heat, it’s important that we watch out for each other and stay informed about how to remain healthy when the thermometer climbs. Stay cool!
Located in Malden, Mass., Mystic Valley Elder Services is a non-profit agency that provides essential home- and community-based care and resources to elders, adults living with disabilities, and caregivers who reside in Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winthrop. Agency services include coordination of home care, transportation, Meals on Wheels, and information and referrals. For more information, please call (781) 324-7705 or visit www.mves.org.