Beat the Heat

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Beat the Heat

“Beat the Heat”

by Becky Franklin, LPC, Older Adult Educator with Tri-County Mental Health Services

We’ve all heard the phrase “the dog days of summer”.  However, it really begins to hit home after weeks on end with the intense summer heat.  It never ceases to amaze me how the prolonged heat affects us as a whole person.  Let’s take a look at how the heat can have an impact in a variety of ways:

  • Physically – Dehydration is especially common in older adults as well as overheating. Our circulation often takes longer as we age.  Plus, our body’s ability to heat and cool is not as effective.  Lastly, it often is a slower process to communicate to our brain that we are thirsty or overheated.  So, sometimes we are already in danger by the time our brain is realizing this.  Drinking more water, wearing loose-fitting, cool clothing, and not overly exerting yourself are all good measures.
  • Socially – When we are feeling hot and lethargic, we tend to “play it cool” and relax. Although this is good at times, we also need to be careful to not become overly isolated from others.  Pace yourself and choose certain activities to participate in throughout the week in order to remain connected to others.
  • Emotionally – When we feel bad physically, we tend to also feel bad emotionally. Normal mood fluctuations are healthy and normal.  Many of us become a little more irritable when not feeling 100%.  However, be careful and watch for prolonged changes in your mood.  It is good to monitor your feelings and make sure you are not experiencing any signs of depression or anxiety.  If you have concerns, do not keep it to yourself.  Reach out to someone in a support role.

Take good care of yourself as the heat settles in.  By being aware and proactive, you can take steps to be healthy even in the midst of the summer heat.  It will be fall before we know it, but until then, we will soak up the sun together!