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Hot Weather + Seniors

Being older means taking more precautions when the weather heats up. Staying hydrated is key.

senior man in an orange shirt jogging in the sun

Even senior citizens who stay super fit can’t outrun this reality: An older body has more trouble staying cool and avoiding heat illness.

Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down so stay hydrated if you want to sweat your best, said Dr. Nimesh Patel, who directs the Quality Urgent Care of America center in San Antonio, Texas.

When older people are unable to cool their body normally through sweating, they might experience faintness, dizziness, nausea, and stomach cramps,” said Dr. Clara Lawson, a physician in Portland, Oregon. 

Avoid exercising and other activities outdoors when the temperature is scorching, she said. Move activity indoors, where it’s air conditioned

For hydration, plain water does the job or you can add fruit for a little kick of flavor and electrolytes.

If you are tired of drinking plain water, mix it up with cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, celery, or watermelon to boost the flavor throughout the day,” Patel said.

Medications and decreased kidney function also can increase water loss, said Trista Best, a registered dietitian in Georgia.

“Dehydration is a serious concern for the elderly population, especially during a heat wave,” she said.

To stay ahead of it, Patel suggests drinking water before that cup of coffee.

“Remember that your kidneys and liver need water to filter out toxins, so water intake should be more than caffeine,” he said. “Besides stressing the body’s regulatory functions when it’s hot out, you also increase the risk of kidney stone formation.”