CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Summertime is here! Green grass, family vacations, camping and the warmth of the sun are just some of the things that make this among the most fun and relaxing times of year. Because we do so many outdoor activities in the summer, it is vital to be prepared for the heat. Let’s look at three things we can do to stay cool and safe this season.

Stay hydrated 

As we age, it can become more difficult for our bodies to produce sweat or to adjust to sudden changes in temperature, like going outside on a hot day after being inside an air-conditioned room. This can increase the risks of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially in those who are not drinking enough water.

A common mistake people make is thinking that drinking juice or soda pop is contributing to them staying hydrated. Many of these drinks contain caffeine and sugar, which can actually contribute to dehydration. If you know you will be spending time outdoors, it is best to drink water before you leave and to bring water with you so that you can drink along the way.

Made in the shade 

Even though you may not be able to stay in the shade all the time, remember to seek it whenever you can. It is much cooler under a canopy or a tree than directly exposed to the hot sun. It will help you to conserve energy and avoid sunburn that can come from prolonged exposure. It is also a good idea to remember to cover windows in your home on a hot day. Aside from helping you stay cool, it will also save you money in energy costs.

“Proper hydration and moderation as you exert in the Southern Utah heat is key to health and wellness,” said Ada Farnsworth, RN, director of nursing at Primrose of Washington. “Schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day. Carry water with you, and be sure you rest when you feel fatigued.”

Educate yourself 

Be on the lookout for signs of overheating, and if you are experiencing them, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms include the following:

  • No sweat on a hot day.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty breathing.

“Sunburns, sunstroke and overheating can become life-threatening for our seniors,” Farnsworth said. “Be sure to wear appropriate accessories and sunscreen to protect yourself when you’re outside. Note also that some medications have sun sensitivity and may create unanticipated reactions.”

Rising temperatures in Southern Utah often equal isolation and loneliness for the area’s retirement population. Social circles shrink when the ability to be outdoors and participate in activities is hindered by the heat. Seniors must make a concerted effort to stay involved and engaged.

A community lifestyle like Primrose of Washington affords amenities and activities that support continued participation and involvement. The community has indoor gathering spaces, workout rooms and game rooms in which to meet. Life enrichment activities include organized trips to scenic locations like Pine Valley and Zion that offer welcome relief from the heat…….READ MORE