Staying Cool: 8 Essential Heat Safety Tips for Seniors in the Summer

A senior man raises his arms, taking a deep breath while enjoying the beauty of nature, all while prioritizing Heat Safety

Edward* insists he is used to being outdoors during the summer. He was a construction worker in downtown Dallas for 45 years, and when he was not battling the hot North Texas sun for 10 hours a day, he was running marathons with his friends on the weekends. He also never missed spending time with his kids at the pool or gardening with his wife. That said, Edward admits he is not as young as he used to be. Last summer’s scorching heat was tough on him, and he knows it is time to start looking into essential heat safety tips.

“According to CNN, more than 300 out of every 100,000 ER visits in July and August 2023 were for heat-related illnesses.”

Too much heat isn’t safe for anyone. It is even riskier if you are an older adult like Edward. This is especially true during the summer when outdoor temps exceed 100 degrees. According to the Texas Tribune, 334 people died from heat-related causes in Texas in 2023. That’s more than double the previous record in 2011. CNN said more than 300 out of every 100,000 ER visits in July and August 2023 were for heat-related illnesses such as the following:

  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Heat stroke
  • Heat rash on chest, neck, and other body parts
  • Painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, and stomach
  • Muscle weakness and extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Swelling in the hands, legs, and ankles

Senior citizens are vulnerable to these and more heat-related illnesses for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to age, existing medications, and chronic health conditions they may be facing. Therefore, it is important to provide technology education to practical heat safety tips to protect themselves and others from the dangers of excessive heat.

Are you interested in supporting Dallas seniors?

Please check out our volunteer opportunities for individuals over 55 and those for all ages.

Older Adults Must Take These Heat Safety Tips Seriously

As previously mentioned, there are many reasons why seniors are more at risk for heat-related illnesses. It is easy to point to factors such as existing medications and chronic health conditions, but there are also physiological and lifestyle factors that can come into play—even if they are relatively healthy.

For example, aging can lead to natural changes in skin structure and blood circulation. As a result, it may take longer for an otherwise healthy senior to adjust to sudden temperature changes and cool down through sweating. Research also shows a diminished thirst sensation in older adults. Essentially, they are not drinking enough fluids. Combine that with potential dietary restrictions, and they may unknowingly suffer from dehydration. There is also mounting research that shows seniors who live alone may not have help available to them in the event of a heat safety issue or to help them be more aware of the importance of staying cool and hydrated.

heat safety seniors woman hydrating water

Following the heat safety tips below should help older adults immensely as we experience another hot North Texas summer.

  1. Stay hydrated — Keep a water bottle with you and take small sips regularly. Even if you are not thirsty or feel like you’ve had enough water for the day, it is better to drink more than you need than not enough.
  2. Eat healthy — Replace hot, heavy meals with nutritious, smaller meals spaced out throughout the day. Fresh fruits, veggies, watermelon, oranges, and cucumbers can keep you cool and hydrated.
  3. Choose your clothes carefully — Loose-fitting clothes and shoes help regulate body temperature, especially when you spend time outdoors. If you need to be outside, please consider wearing a hat.
  4. Maintain your air conditioner — To keep your AC unit working efficiently, call a local HVAC professional and have it checked as early as possible in the summer.
  5. Find alternative ways to stay cool — Take cool showers when you are at home. When you must be outside, look for shaded areas. If your air conditioning is not working, consider spending time at the nearest community center or library to ensure you are staying cool.
  6. Avoid peak hours outdoors — Peak heat hours outdoors are typically between 10 am and 4 pm.
  7. Don’t forget sunscreen — One of the best heat safety tips for seniors during the summer is to wear sunscreen, even on overcast days. Doing so helps avoid sunburn, which naturally increases your core body temperature.
  8. Act fast when you do not feel well — If you don’t feel well due to excessive heat, avoid waiting to seek help. Call a medical professional or explain your symptoms to a family member or care provider.
heat safety seniors summer safety tips

Protect Yourself and Others: Embrace Heat Safety Now

The scorching summer heat poses significant risks, especially for older adults. By taking the necessary precautions and staying vigilant, you can protect yourself and others from heat-related illnesses. Whether it’s staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing, or finding cool places to rest, every action counts. Encourage your friends and family to be aware of these tips and support each other in staying cool. Together, we can make a difference and reduce the number of heat-related emergencies this summer.

“If you or a loved one are a senior citizen, don’t wait until it’s too late to implement these strategies. Stay proactive, stay hydrated, and stay informed.”

For many of us, a broken air conditioner is an uncomfortable inconvenience. For a senior, it can be life-threatening. At The Senior Source, we have programs to support older adults in Dallas, especially during the summer heat. We partner with TXU Energy to help seniors stay cool by providing free window air conditioning units to those who qualify. Our Beat the Heat program makes it possible for The Senior Source to provide relief from the heat to Dallas area older adults who lack access to cool air in their homes.

Beat the Heat 2020

Want to help? Donate to our Beat the Heat program today. Join our volunteer programs and help spread awareness and safety practices among seniors in our community.

Interested in our Beat the Heat program?

Please check out the annual event for who can qualify and how donors can help.

We Are Your Resource for Supporting Older Adults

When it comes to Dallas older adults, whether you are a family caregiver, a service provider, or a senior citizen yourself, having a reliable resource is invaluable. The Senior Source in Dallas, Texas, is dedicated to supporting older adults. We empower active seniors to live purposeful lives and protect vulnerable seniors. Our advocacy ensures that everyone’s rights are upheld as they age, and we strive for financial and emotional well-being for all.

The seniors and families we assist are diverse, and so are our services. The Senior Source delivers efficient and effective solutions, fostering a welcoming culture for employees and continuously expanding our influence.

Embrace the future of aging with us. Contact us at 214-823-5700 or complete the contact form to learn about our services. We are here to assist you.

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