As the official start to summer, June 21st is a great day for seniors around Hickory Villa to begin making plans to safely beat the heat over the coming weeks.
Though Omaha doesn't traditionally get as hot as some of our southern neighbors, temperatures can still easily soar high enough to trigger heat illnesses. To help our residents prepare, we've created this list of tips for seniors to stay cool this summer.
Arguably the most important tip for preventing heat illnesses is to remain hydrated.
Switching to iced teas and coffees through the summer months can let seniors continue to enjoy their favorite beverages while still cooling off, and recent studies have shown the effect of caffeine and dehydration is minimal when consumed in moderation.
Smoothies made out of frozen yogurt or ice cubes are also great ways to lower body temperature, and eating water-rich fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe can boost fluid levels while satisfying snack cravings.
Solar radiation can quickly raise the temperature indoors. By closing the blinds on their windows and applying insulating film that blocks UV rays, seniors can prevent the heat from reaching their rooms and reduce fading and damage to their furnishings and pictures at the same time.
For personal protection from the sun, seniors heading outdoors should wear sunscreen and use hats or umbrellas to create their own shade. Minimizing time spent outdoors during the peak hours of heat and UV radiation, which typically lasts through the late morning and afternoon, can also help seniors avoid overheating or getting sunburned.
Tabletop and floor fans can make a big difference in keeping the air moving in a senior's assisted living apartment, and in similar fashion, a hand fan can create a comfortable breeze while seniors are moving around the community.
Hand fans can be storebought with printed designs or personalized pieces made by the senior themselves. There are many styles featured in DIY projects around the web, including paper fans or ones made with Popsicle-stick handles.
A battery-operated fan is a good option for individuals with arthritis or low stamina, and ones with a clamp can be attached to walkers or wheelchairs for added convenience.
As seniors age, their bodies naturally slow down. This lowers the efficiency of many of their internal systems, including their temperature-regulation and sweat glands. A side effect of certain medications can also inhibit perspiration and cause seniors to overheat faster then normal.
To counter this problem, seniors can use a mister to dampen hair, clothes and skin to help themselves cool down. This can be especially effective when used in combination with a fan or air conditioning.
Popsicle molds and ice cube trays let seniors create their own blends of juices, fruits, herbs and vegetables in frozen form. These can be eaten as a cold treat or used to reinforce flavors and add a chill to drinks and soups.
Fruit slices, berries and grapes can be bought in bags or prepared ahead of time and left in the freezer for an easy-to-grab snack. Jell-O, pudding, canned fruits, bottled water and nutrition shakes can be placed in the refrigerator overnight for a refreshing treat the next day.
For seniors who crave ice cream or want to round up a few friends for an indoor party, this recipe can be a fun way to meet their sweet tooth through a variety of healthy banana ice cream variations.