rome-senior-hydratingThere are many wonderful things about Georgia in the summer time— ripe peaches in the road-side fruit stands, fresh boiled peanuts, sweet Vidalia onions, and sweet tea tasting extra refreshing when the mercury climbs. And oh, does it climb. If one thing is for sure, it’s that Georgia gets hot in the summer months. It’s important to take precautions to stay safe and healthy to avoid summer mishaps like heat exhaustion and dehydration that can be of especial concern for the very young, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions.

Scarlett O’Hara might say “fiddle dee dee” to worrying about drinking enough water and staying out of the heat, but it’s no joke when high temperatures can not only limit the amount of fun you’re able to have, but could make you sick. Here are our top tips for enjoying all the upsides of Rome in the summertime and none of the potential downsides

One of the many great reasons to choose a retirement community like Riverwood is that the caring, trained staff members know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration to look out for, and how to keep residents healthy and comfortable. However, people of all ages, and even outdoor pets, can be affected by warmer temperatures, and may not know what signs to look out for. If you or someone you love experiences confusion, problems with walking or falling, dizziness or headaches, dry or sticky mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, inability to sweat or produce tears, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure or blood pressure that drops when changing from lying to standing, constipation and decreased urine, or urine that’s a dark yellow color, you may be severely dehydrated.

It’s especially easy for elderly people to become dehydrated. For one thing, as we age, we naturally retain less water. We also often experience decreased thirst responses, meaning we might not notice thirst as a symptom of dehydration until it’s already quite acute. There are also many medications with diuretic side effects that make it harder for the body to hold on to the water you consume. That’s why it’s important to sip on water throughout the day and make hydration a habit, rather than something you tend to on cue. Avoid soft drinks, coffee, and tea (yes, even sweet tea!) as these can have a diuretic affect and make you even more dehydrated. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of lemon, or put slices of cucumber or mint leaves in the container to infuse it with a fresh flavor.

Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothes, preferably made from a natural fiber, like cotton, rather than a synthetic. Avoid going out in the heat of the day, and spend time outdoors in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler and the sun isn’t so fierce. There are plenty of enjoyable air conditioned places in Rome to spend time during the hottest part of the day, like nearby shopping malls, movie theaters and the public library. Plan indoor activities like crafts, book club, indoor exercise, board games, or writing letters during the times when heat is most intense.

With these few simple steps you can stay cool and comfortable all summer long, and savor the best that Georgia has to offer!