Tips & Education

Hot Weather and the Importance for Seniors to Stay Cool

August 7th, 2023

Hot Weather is something we need to take seriously each summer. Even in the Pacific Northwest, where CRISTA Senior Living is located, scorching weather occurs for several weeks every year. And, as the hot weather sets in, it’s crucial for seniors to take extra precautions to stay cool.

The Impact of Hot Weather on Seniors

Extreme heat can have severe consequences for older adults. Seniors are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses due to factors such as age-related physiological changes, chronic health conditions, medications, and decreased ability to regulate body temperature. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common risks that seniors face when exposed to excessive heat. These conditions can lead to dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and even life-threatening situations.

The Importance of Staying Cool in Hot Weather

Why is it so important for seniors to remain cool when outside temperatures soar? According to the National Institute of Health, the temperature inside or outside doesn’t have to be very high to put seniors at risk for a heat-related illness. That’s because seniors cannot regulate their body temperature. Extreme heat can place additional stress on the body, affecting heart function and exacerbating existing health conditions. Keeping cool helps alleviate stress and promotes better overall health for seniors.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, it’s important to:

  • Get out of the sun and into a cool, ideally air-conditioned place.

  • Drink fluids while avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

  • Shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water.

  • Lie down and rest.

  • Go to an emergency room or doctor if you feel dizzy, fatigued, confused, or have a headache.

Dehydration is one of the biggest threats to a senior’s health in hot weather. Seniors often do not feel thirsty even when dehydrated, making them more prone to it. Staying cool and consuming adequate fluids helps prevent dehydration, which can lead to serious health complications.

Elderly woman pouring glass of water

Stay Cool in Hot Weather to Prevent Heat-related Illnesses

We commonly think of heat stroke when we think of heat-related illnesses, but there are several to be aware of — and even more so as you age:

Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness that can happen when you are active in hot weather. If you take a heart medication called a beta blocker or are not acclimated to hot weather, you are even more likely to feel faint. Rest in a cool place, put your legs up, and drink water to make the dizzy feeling go away.

Heat cramps are the painful tightening or spasms of muscles in your stomach, arms, or legs. Though your body temperature and pulse usually stay normal during heat cramps, your skin may feel moist and cool. Stop the physical activity you’re doing and rest in the shade or in a cool building. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water and sports drinks containing electrolytes. Do not consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

Heat edema is a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot. Put your legs up to help reduce swelling. If that doesn’t work fairly quickly, check with your doctor.

Heat rash is a skin irritation from heavy sweating. It causes red clusters of small blisters that look similar to pimples on the skin. Your skin may feel itchy, or you may feel a tingling pain. Keep the infected area dry, use powder to soothe the rash, and stay in cool areas.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseous. You may sweat a lot. Your body temperature may stay normal, but your skin may feel cold and clammy. Some people with heat exhaustion have a rapid pulse. Rest in a cool place and get plenty of fluids. If you don’t feel better soon, get medical care. Be cautious because heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency in which the body’s temperature rises above 104°F. Signs of heat stroke are fainting; confusion or acting strangely; not sweating even when it’s hot; dry, flushed skin; strong, rapid pulse; or a slow, weak pulse. When a person has any of these symptoms, they should seek medical help immediately and move to a cooler place. They should also take action to lower their body temperature with cool clothes, a cool bath or shower, and fans.

Sunburn is a sign of skin damage due to extreme or pro-longed exposure to the sun. Your skin may appear red and tender, develop blisters, start to peel, and be warm to the touch. Severe reactions may cause fever, chills, nausea, or rash. Prevent sunburn by wearing protective clothing that covers your skin and staying out of direct sunlight. Using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher can also help prevent sunburns and must be reapplied often. If you are sunburned, wear lightweight clothing, take cool showers, moisturize affected areas, and stay out of the sun so your skin can heal.

As the mercury rises during the summer months, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of seniors, especially when it comes to staying cool. CRISTA Senior Living communities help residents stay cool in hot weather with air-conditioned common areas and water stations. Our staff encourages residents to drink water often and to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler outside.

If you are looking for a Christian Senior Living community, we would love to talk with you and take you on a tour of CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline, WA, or Silverdale, WA. You can find out more at

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What People Are Saying …

I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.

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CRISTA has been a warm, friendly atmosphere to be a part of these past two years. It encourages friendships that encourage a pleasant living environment.

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Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.

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Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.

I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.

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