Summer is magical in midcoast Maine. After dealing with a long, chilly winter, Maineiacs love the sun and the heat. But summer can take a toll, with its high temperatures and harmful UV rays from the sun.
Here is a look at how the heat and sun can affect the quality of senior living and tips that will ensure you stay safe and healthy in the summer sun.
1) Regulating Your Body Temperature
It’s all about regulating your body temperature. This gets harder as the body ages. It is a serious concern because if you get too hot, your health suffers.
One problem is the fact that seniors don’t sweat as easily as those who are younger. And sweat is one of the most effective ways the body has to cool itself. In addition, the human body stores fat differently as it ages, making heat regulation more complicated.
As a senior, you are also dealing with specific health factors that affect how the body handles high temperatures. These include:
- salt-restricted diets
- medications that affect sweating
- kidney, heart and blood circulation diseases
- dressing in heavy layers, which gets in the way of air circulation and traps heat
Here are a variety of tips to stay hydrated and cool your body and your living area. Following them can help your body regulate its temperature, keep you cool and make summer safe and healthy.
2) Drink Water
Dehydration is your enemy. As soon as you feel thirsty, you are already losing ground. Stay safe by drinking fluids throughout the day in summer. Yes, you will need to use the bathroom more often. But that is a small price to pay for staying safe.
Put the emphasis on water. Flavor water naturally with slices of fruit. Lemon is well known, but a variety of fruit combinations can add bursts of flavor. If you sweat a lot, try Gatorade or other sweat replacement drinks. Make sure you get at least a minimum amount of salt in your diet.
Alcohol and caffeine are fluids, but they are diuretics and tend to dehydrate, not hydrate. They flush water from your system, just when you need it most. Limit how much coffee and tea you drink. Enjoy a beer or a glass of wine or cocktail, but cut way back.
3) Stay Cool Inside During the Hottest Times
Stay inside where it is cooler, especially during the parts of the day when it is hottest outdoors. Air conditioning can add comfort to your senior living environment in summer, so if you have it turn it on. Or use fans and keep the windows open.
This is especially important in the bedroom at night. It is hard to get a good sleep if your body temperature is too high.
When you get uncomfortably hot, take a quick shower or bath. This is one of the quickest ways to reduce your body temperature. Or try soaking a towel in water and wrapping it around your neck or placing it on top of your head.
If you don’t have air conditioning and you rooms are simply too hot, consider heading out to the mall or to an air-conditioned movie theater for the afternoon.
4) Wear Lightweight Layers
You can stay comfortable as you move from an air-conditioned room to a hot patio by the way you dress. Choose natural fabrics that are breathable, like cotton. For example add a cotton sweater over your t-shirt. It’s easy to take off and put back on, and you’ll always be prepared for a blast of cool air.
Outside, be sure to add a hat with a wide brim to keep your head cooler. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Use sunscreen to help prevent sunburn. Skin cancer is a major problem for everyone, especially seniors. For example, white males have experienced over an 8% increase in melanoma since 2003, the highest of any demographic.
For safe, independent living, it is essential that you take steps to stay cool in the summer sun. Water, light clothing and a cool environment will let you enjoy the perfect summers of midcoast Maine.