Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
The Key to Summer Enjoyment
Summer is here! We are experiencing longer days, more sunlight and warmer temperatures. There is no denying it – after the winter we have had, we deserve this great season! For many, summer is a time of adventure, opportunity and personal growth. Here are five recommendations to help you make the most of the next 100 days:
Summer is a great time to explore your interests. We are blessed to have a plethora of outdoor opportunities that allow us to connect with nature and life-long activities. Explore the many paved and unpaved trails in the area that are easily accessible for walking or biking. Play a round of golf on a local course, even if it’s just a miniature golf range. Make sure to use our natural resources! Enjoy nearby rivers and lakes for excursions kayaking, canoeing, swimming, or fishing. These activities are great for any ability level and require little to no experience.
Take up a new interest! Have you ever tried disc golf or taken a culinary walking tour? Spend an afternoon strolling through local cities and discovering unique shops. As an added bonus, learning something new is good for your brain.
As we age, our thirst sensors communicate less and less with our brain. In other words, we are thirsty and don’t even know it and our kidneys can become less efficient. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, nearly 7% of hospitalizations include a diagnosis of dehydration. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous and signs of dehydration may be absent in an older person. Symptoms can include confusion, fevers, constipation or even falls. So how do we prevent this from happening? Ask your doctor how much water you should be taking in each day. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda and tea. Eat foods high in water such as watermelon, grapes, grapefruit (if it does not interact with current prescriptions) or Jell-O. Take your prescriptions with water and then drink one more glass for good measure. Finally, remind those around you to stay hydrated. The power of suggestion is proven to increase the intake of liquids.
Having purpose and meaning in your life is proven to help stave Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Being in social relationships makes you a happier person. Attend church, take a class, plan a family get-together, or find a civic opportunity that is close to your heart. Do not overlook giving back! Volunteering not only helps the people receiving the good deed, it also lifts the spirits of the person giving the assistance. No job is too small. Even something as simple as sending a handwritten note can make someone’s day.
Wear the right clothing for the temperature, for sun exposure and for your activity. Take alternative routes and carry your ID at all times. Even though we encourage setting a routine for exercising, it is a good idea to change up your patterns throughout the week. Having an exercise partner encourages you to participate, stay connected, and allows someone to be there in case you may need assistance in an emergency. Know your limits. Don’t go further than you are able, know your hydration level and if your body is capable of taking on certain tasks. Keep foods at the right temperature as determined by the Federal Government’s summer food guidelines. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. After cooking meat to the right temperatures, it should be kept warm and served at 140 degrees. Do not let food sit out for more than an hour and be cautious to prevent cross contamination. Do not use the same plates and utensils for serving food that were used to prepare them.
Be aware of Ozone Action Days and research daily air quality. The EPA maintains records of the pollution in the air. Poor air quality leads to about 10% of hospitalizations due to its effect on respiratory conditions. Try to avoid driving and filling up for gas between 10:00am and 2:00pm. During this time period, stay indoors and focus your activities around the cooler part of the day. Seek shady areas, enjoy air conditioning and wear wide-brimmed hats. Apply sunblock with at least SPF 30 and UVA/UVB protection. Spray-on sunblock has made application very easy. The risk of cancer does not go away as we age. Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses!
Follow these tips and enjoy a happy and healthy summer!