How Seniors Can Stay Healthy This SummerBrandermill Woods independent living angle

How Seniors Can Stay Healthy This Summer

Monday, August 21, 2023

At Brandermill Woods, residents have access to numerous indoor amenities, from a movie theater to a woodworking shop, to beat the summer heat. When you venture out into the heat to enjoy your favorite summer activities, it's important to stay healthy and safe. These tips can help you keep your cool without sacrificing your favorite summertime activities.

Stay Safe in the Sun
Summertime gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, such as tennis and golf. You even receive a membership to Brandermill Country Club as part of the resident amenities at Brandermill Woods.

While you're enjoying those activities, it's important to protect yourself from the heat and sun. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear sunscreen: Always apply sunscreen even if you're just going outdoors for a short time. Bring the bottle with you, and reapply if you're planning a longer outing.
  • Time it right: Scheduling your outdoor activities in the morning or evening helps you avoid the hottest times. It also prevents exposure to the harshest ultraviolet rays.
  • Dress appropriately: Lightweight, light-colored clothing that's breathable and comfortable can keep you cooler outdoors. Natural fabrics are often ideal.
  • Stick to the shade: When possible, find outdoor activities that offer shade. This keeps you out of direct sunlight to keep you cooler and reduce the chance of sunburn.
  • Choose cool activities: A day at the beach or pool where you can cool off is a good option for hot summer days.
  • Check the forecast: As you're planning your activities for the week, check the forecast to see which days will be the coolest. Plan your outdoor activities on those days if possible.

Spend Time in the AC
Spending plenty of time in the air conditioning can keep you healthier, especially on the hottest summer days. That doesn't mean you have to stay home, though. The community offers plenty of air-conditioned options to keep you cool while you have fun. Here are some options for home and away:

  • Visit the library
  • Go to a museum
  • Take in a performance
  • Go to a movie
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Take scenic drives in your air-conditioned car
  • Invite friends over for games, movies, or other entertainment

Stay Hydrated
Water plays a role in many bodily functions and in most systems of your body. When you hydrate well, your body is better able to regulate its temperature. It also lubricates your joints, helps the kidneys and liver work efficiently, and moves nutrients to your cells. Hydration is important year-round, but it can be especially important in the summer when the heat dehydrates you faster.

Older adults can be at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated. As you age, you typically have a lower water volume in your body. Some medications and medical conditions that are more common in older adults can contribute to dehydration. If you become dehydrated, your body doesn't have the moisture it needs to function properly.

Being aware of the signs of dehydration is important. If you wait until you feel thirsty to drink water, you're probably already at least a little dehydrated. Older adults especially tend to only feel thirsty after they're dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include:

  • Decrease in urine or dark-colored urine
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Skin redness
  • Foot swelling
  • Constipation

Drinking lots of water helps keep your body hydrated. You can also drink beverages with electrolytes to help rehydrate your body. What you eat can affect hydration, too. Incorporate into your warm-weather diet all the fresh produce that's in season during the summer to take advantage of the extra water they contain. Melons, berries, leafy greens, asparagus, bell peppers, and tomatoes are examples of hydrating foods.

Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
Spending too much time outdoors can result in heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is less severe and includes symptoms such as:

  • Paleness
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Weakness
  • Fainting

Moving to a cooler place and drinking cool water can help. If you stay in the heat, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke. Many of the symptoms are the same as those for heat exhaustion, but heat stroke may also cause other symptoms, including:

  • Increase in body temperature
  • Faster and stronger pulse
  • Confusion
  • Hot, red skin
  • Throbbing headache
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Seizures
  • Coma

You need immediate medical treatment for heat stroke. Call 911 if you suspect you're experiencing heat stroke.

Visit Brandermill Woods

Take a tour of Brandermill Woods to see our indoor swimming pool, arts-and-crafts room, game room, greenhouse, and other areas that help you beat the heat. Our caring staff can answer all your questions about what Brandermill Woods has to offer. Contact us or call (804) 744-1173 to schedule your visit.