Health & Well-Being


We’ve braved months of cold winds, icy roads, and even a spring snowstorm or two, but summer is finally just around the corner. As you start trading your sweaters for short sleeves, take a few minutes to brush up on some of the risks that come with warmer weather—and how to stay safe and healthy this summer.

Heat-Related Summer Health Risks for Seniors

We sometimes get as hot in the summer as it gets cold in the winter, and that means heat-related health issues can be a real danger—especially for seniors. While extreme heat can be dangerous at any age, your risk for heat-related illness increases as you get older. Dehydration and hyperthermia are the top health risks seniors face in the summertime.

Dehydration – Feelings of thirst tend to decrease as we age, which means seniors are more likely to become dehydrated. Some medications may also make you more susceptible to dehydration by acting as a diuretic or making you sweat less. Talk with your doctor about side effects of your daily medications that may put you at risk.

Watch out for signs of dehydration:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Low urine output
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate

Hyperthermia – Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both forms of hyperthermia, a condition in which the body’s internal temperature is dangerously elevated. Our body’s natural heat regulating mechanisms don’t work as well when we get older, which increases the risk for hyperthermia.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Excessive sweating or lack of sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Rapid and shallow breathing

Heat exhaustion can develop quickly, and if not treated can turn into life-threatening heat stroke. If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms, get to a cool place, start hydrating, and contact your nursing staff immediately.

Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

Just because sun exposure comes with some risks doesn’t mean you should spend your summer indoors. Exposure to sunlight is critical to mental and physical wellbeing. Follow these tips to get your daily dose of sunshine the safe way:

  • Stay Hydrated – Drink more water than you think you need. If you feel thirsty, that’s a sign you’re already becoming dehydrated.
  • Take a Siesta – The sun is at its peak during midday. Head inside for a rest during these hours to avoid the most intense rays.
  • Crank the A/C – Extreme heat can follow you indoors if you don’t set your air conditioner accordingly. Set your A/C at a comfortable 72-75 degrees F and use fans to distribute the cool air.
  • Dress Cool – Choose light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen to help regulate body temperature. Throw on a hat before you go outside.
  • Avoid Strenuous Activity – Your body has to work much harder to regulate its temperature when it’s hot outside, which means hyperthermia can come on quickly. Consider trying one of these low-impact summer activities.

Summer is a great opportunity to spend time outside with grandkids, replenish your vitamin D, and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. We hope you keep these safety tips in mind while you get the most out of this sunny season.

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Did you know? April is Stress Awareness Month.

The feeling of stress can oftentimes derail our lives. If we get too stressed, we have a hard time concentrating on other things in life, many times the important parts of our lives like, overall happiness and joy.

Especially as a senior, life can seem stressful. Whether you may be stressed about an upcoming move to a senior living community or other factors that can cause stress, it’s important to take the time for yourself to rest and relax.

Here are five ways for seniors to de-stress:

1. Start a new hobby:

While this may seem a bit odd, activities that keep you busy but also encourage socialization can greatly reduce stress. Whether you want to start a book club in your community, pick up a new card game or grab a friend and start a garden (indoor or out!), you’ll quickly realize focusing your thoughts elsewhere is just a simple way to reduce your stress. 

2. Exercise:

Improving your overall physical health is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and improve your mood.

You don’t have to pound the pavement to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Especially during the summertime when heatstroke and dehydration are greater concerns, low-impact activities can be a great option for seniors looking to get in their daily steps or 30 minutes of cardio. Here you can find four low-impact activities you can enjoy outside.

3. Learn to meditate:

Meditation is a great way to focus on being present and pay attention to your breathing. It’s one of the simplest ways to reduce stress.

To start meditating, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, relax your body. It might seem easy enough, but meditation—based on traditional Buddhist practices—requires you to be completely alone with your thoughts, and can actually take some time to “train your brain” to stop wandering. Get A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness Meditation here.

Now that you have three ways you can start to de-stress, which will you choose? They all are great for finding ways to remove the stress from your life and begin to enjoy it!

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Physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle no matter what age you are but becomes even more important as a senior.

Regular exercise improves both physical and mental health, lowering your risk for almost every chronic illness that strikes in old age and slowing the process of mental decline.

Have you tried any of these four low-impact exercises for seniors yet?

One of the low-impact exercises mentioned in the link above is, yoga. Yoga is a great exercise for seniors as you can do it on your own at home, outside on the grass or anywhere you want!

Now that spring is upon us, find out if your community offers a yoga class in the health center and ask if you can move the class outside a couple times a week to spend some time outside. Morning yoga is a great way to wake up the body and loosen muscles with some guided stretching, and it’s also a good time of day to avoid the worst of the heat.

Find out why this is a great exercise for seniors with these 10 yoga benefits below:

  1. Improves flexibility
  2. Strengthens core muscles
  3. Calms the mind
  4. Improves balance
  5. Low-impact to reduce strain on your body
  6. Relieves pain
  7. Empowers you
  8. Strengthens your bones (AARP)
  9. Reduces anxiety
  10. Encourages mindfulness

Do any of these benefits fit something you want to work on in the months to come? If so, try out yoga.

It’s never too late to start working on your physical fitness. The key is adapting your fitness routine to the limitations of your body at any given age, as well as to the conditions of the current season.

If you’re thinking you’re not even sure how to get started exercising, read this article about how to start an exercise routine over the age of 60.

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It’s an exciting time of year – we are starting to see the sun again and the snow is melting.

Spring is almost here! The first day of spring is on March 20 this year.

With the change of season and weather, you might feel like it’s time to change your food choices as well. Chili and soup might not be the best meal when the temperatures are rising so, why not add some fresh, colorful new food into your diet this spring season.

See below for a few springtime foods for seniors:

Chocolate Covered Bananas:

A great way to eat healthy plus, cure your sweet tooth at the same time is with  chocolate covered bananas—delicious bite-sized treats. Cut a banana in small chunks and stick a popsicle stick into them to hold. Then, dip them in melted chocolate. Place the dipped banana chunks on a piece of wax paper and place in the freezer. Wait until the chocolate has hardened and then get to snacking! Yum.

Kale Caesar Salad:

While kale is one of the trendiest foods lately, it actually has a lot of health benefits as well. One of the main benefits is that it has a positive effect on people’s mood. What a better way to celebrate the newly found sunshine than adding a food that impacts your mood in a good way to your diet! Try this Kale Caesar Salad from A Place for Mom.

Infused Water:

While this isn’t quite a snack, technically, it is a healthy change to make in your life. A great way to drink more water is to infuse it! Try adding cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, limes or any of your favorite fruits or vegetables to a glass of water. Not only will it taste delicious, it will add some fun springtime colors into your life!

Indoor Garden:

An indoor garden is a great source of food, but it is also a great activity for seniors. It keeps aging hands busy and agile. It can even help relieve stress and reduce the risk for dementia. A few ideas are to make a herb garden, vegetable garden or a pizza garden. Herb gardens are a great way to add flavor to your meals with fresh basil, chives or your personal favorite herb. Pizza gardens are a good way to make all the ingredients that go in a pizza in one garden! Learn more here.

Spring is a great time to renew your life and embrace the sunshine and warmer temps! That can include changing up your diet to match the season. Try one or all of these snack ideas and let us know what you think.

Enjoy!

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