How Summer Heat Affects Seniors

Portrait of a senior athlete relaxing after workout.

Hot summer days can be brutal for everyone.  Unfortunately, older adults often have a more difficult time handling the heat.  Murrieta, California summers are hot and dry, with high temperatures regularly reaching the upper 80s and low 90s.  It’s important during hot weather to keep in touch and check on elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they are staying comfortable.

According to the CDC, the elderly are more prone to heat stress and heat-related health issues.  There are several reasons for this.

·   Older adults don’t adjust to sudden temperature changes as well as younger people.

·   Seniors are more likely to have chronic medical conditions that affect how their body responds to heat.

·   They are more likely to take prescription medications that affect how the body controls temperature or the ability to sweat.

The following are recommended strategies to help people stay cool during hot weather:


Senior women hydrating and cooling down after her morning run

Staying hydrated is key.  Seniors should drink more water than usual and not just when they feel thirsty.  The best choices to drink are water, milk, sports drinks that replace electrolytes, and fruit juices (being mindful of their high sugar content).  Poor choices for hydration include drinks containing caffeine, sodas, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages.  These beverages generally contain too much sugar or act as diuretics.

Seek air conditioning

Stay cool in an air conditioned building.  A fan may not offer enough relief on really hot days.  Close curtains or blinds on windows facing the sun.  Minimize use of the oven, as it heats up the house.  Wear lightweight and light colored clothing to keep cool.

Avoid strenuous activities

Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.  Strenuous activities put people at risk for heat-related illness.  Exercise raises the body’s core temperature, making it work harder to stay cool.

Monitoring and dealing with heat-related illness

·       Heat Exhaustion – Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, weakness, headache, fainting, nausea, and vomiting.  The person should seek an air conditioned place to cool off and rest.  Drink plenty of fluids to hydrate.  Take a cool shower or bath, if possible, or use damp cloths around the neck to cool off.

·       Heat Stroke – Heat stroke is a medical emergency.  Untreated heat stroke can lead to death or permanent disability.  Warning signs include an extremely high body temperature, hot dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, throbbing headache, and unconsciousness.

Renaissance Lifestyle

Residents at Renaissance Villages have the convenience of higher levels of care while enjoying the comforts of our senior living communities.  Our trained care staff is available 24/7 to meet residents’ needs.  Families have peace of mind knowing Renaissance Villages will provide the support and care their loved one requires.  Contact us to schedule a tour of our facilities.

Great Days Await at Renaissance Villages!

contact us today to schedule a tour

(951) 319-8243