Because the summer heat can be dangerous for seniors, Jewish Home has prepared some guidelines geared to help seniors in the community cope with the summer heat.

Dr. Melissa Martin, Medical Director, Jewish Home, Manhattan, explains,

With an increase in years comes a decrease in the ability to regulate body temperature. Older people also have a higher risk of dehydration because many are on medications that cause water loss from the body.”

Here are some tips to help elders deal with the heat:

Give Your Body What it Needs

  • Drink plenty of water or diluted fruit juices
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages
  • Eat light meals and avoid high-protein foods
  • Use cool compresses; take a cool bath or shower

Plan Ahead Before Running Errands

  • Complete errands during the cooler morning or evening hours
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities
  • Wear sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and loose, light-colored clothing

Extra Hints to Stay Cool

  • Slow down and enjoy the sights, sounds and fun of summertime
  • Rest in air-conditioned areas like a library, bank or a store (NYC offers free cooling centers; call 311 for locations)
  • Create a buddy system; have a friend check daily on your well-being and do the same for him or her

Cooling Your Home

  • Lower shades to keep light and heat out
  • Keep all rooms well ventilated with a fan, air conditioner or open windows

And do keep an eye out for one of the most common mistakes elders make in the summer.

Dr. Martin points out “Many seniors wear their sweaters all the time and if they don’t hydrate themselves well they will experience weakness and fatigue.”