Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors Living in St. Louis

Summer temperatures are on the rise. In St. Louis, summer temperatures have an average high of 88 degrees and rarely fall below 72 degrees.

With this type of consistent heat, we need to be mindful of our bodies and make sure we are taking the necessary steps so that we do not overheat during our daily activities.

What we really need in this season of high temperatures are some hot weather safety tips for seniors.

Seniors can be more vulnerable to significant temperature changes, including high heat, and should be proactive in caring for themselves during the summer months.

But what exactly is overheating, what are the signs, and how can we treat or prevent it?

Table of Contents

What is Overheating?
Watch for Heat Hazards
Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors
What Cape Albeon Has to Offer
Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Heat and Seniors

What is Overheating?

Temperature GaugeHot weather and outdoor physical activity can challenge your body’s ability to maintain its healthy temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prolonged exposure to these conditions can hinder your body’s typical responses (such as sweating) that regulate body temperature.

It is important for individuals to know the signs of overheating and take action immediately.

Very high body temperatures can lead to brain damage or even death, so if you think you or someone you know is suffering from overheating, get help.

“Seek help for physical symptoms, before it gets to be an emergency”

Watch for Heat Hazards

There are lots of conditions that can cause the body to overheat. Knowing the symptoms of each, what you can do to treat them, and when to seek medical attention is important, especially in older adults.

Dehydration

The Mayo Clinic says dehydration “occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions”. Because older adults naturally have less water in their bodies, their risk of dehydration is high.

Symptoms include less urination, extreme thirst, dizziness, and confusion. These can usually be reversed by drinking more fluids, but if symptoms persist or you can’t keep fluids down you should see a physician.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are a painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms, and/or legs. Your body temperature and pulse may remain normal and your skin may feel moist and cool.

Find a cool place to rest and drink plenty of fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Heat Edema

Heat edema is swelling in your ankles and feet due to overheating. To reverse these symptoms, find a cool place to rest and elevate your legs. Check with your physician if the problem continues.

Heat Syncope

Heat syncope is a decrease in blood pressure that causes dizziness or temporary loss of consciousness. If you take a beta-blocker you may be more susceptible to this condition.

To relieve symptoms, find a cool place to rest, elevate your legs, and drink water.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion symptoms include feeling thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseous. You may be sweating profusely with an elevated pulse but your body temperature will remain normal. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

To ease symptoms and regulate your body’s reaction, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical attention if you do not recover quickly.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. This rise in body temperature can happen gradually over a few days of heat exposure in older adults.

Signs include:

  • Having a throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red hot and dry skin
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • and Unconsciousness.

If you suspect someone has a heat stroke, do not wait. Call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital.

If waiting for emergency personnel, move to a cooler environment and remove any unnecessary clothing. Heat stroke can be fatal.

Act quickly, every minute counts.

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Hot Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

The CDC states that 39% of heat-related deaths in the US were among people over 65. It is important to take preventative measures to avoid overheating. Here is some hot weather advice for seniors:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but stay away from caffeine or alcohol.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, avoid using your stove and oven.
  • Stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible.
  • If your home does not have air conditioning, go somewhere that does – such as a library, indoor mall, or movie theater.
  • Stay informed – check local weather for current temperatures and air quality.

On top of that, consider adjusting the timing of your outdoor activities. If, for example, you’re planning on going for a mid-day walk with friends or neighbors, try moving it to the morning when temperatures are bound to be much cooler.

You may also want to shift your activities to the indoors instead—at least during the hottest months and times of the day.

What Cape Albeon Has to Offer

Swimming Pool at Cape Albeon

Senior living at Cape Albeon seeks to give you the most comfortable and safest living options available in every season.

Enjoying your life is important, and Cape Albeon’s amenities help you do that.

There is so much to do, with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. These include:

  • Walking paths along the lake
  • An indoor pool and fitness studio
  • Media room for movies
  • Billiards/Game room
  • Shopping excursions
  • Juice available all-day
  • Daily check-ins for your well-being

Plus, Cape Albeon is uniquely suited to keeping our residents cool and comfortable, even in the hot summer months.

Thanks to the lake our properties are situated around, the air tends to be a bit cooler than other nearby areas.

We also have plenty of shaded walking paths so you can get your exercise in without overexerting yourself. And don’t forget the indoor pool!

Discover a lifestyle you can truly enjoy at Cape Albeon Lakeside Retirement Living. Socialize with friends, stay active, and keep your independence all in a safe environment that will give you the peace of mind you deserve.

Schedule a tour today to see everything Cape Albeon has to offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Heat and Seniors

What Temperature is Too Hot for Seniors?

There is no exact temperature that is considered “too hot” for seniors, simply because everyone is different.

A good rule of thumb, however, is that once temperatures reach above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, older adults should be proactive and take precautions.

Does Heat Bother You More as You Get Older?

The short answer is yes. Because seniors naturally carry less water in their bodies, their chances of dehydration are higher which can lead to overheating.

There are other factors that can cause heat-related conditions in seniors as well, which is why it is essential to listen to your body, drink plenty of fluids, and limit time outside during hot weather.

How Does Summer Heat Affect the Elderly?

Along with dehydration, older adults are at a higher risk for conditions such as heat edema, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

There are lots of factors that can cause the summer heat to affect the elderly.

Chronic medical conditions can change the way a body responds to heat and prescription medication can impair a body’s ability to regulate temperatures and can prevent sweating.

Additionally, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are at greater risk because they may not be aware that they are overheating or know what to do to cool down.

Extra care should be taken with these individuals to ensure that they are in a safe environment and can be monitored for symptoms.