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tuscaloosa-senior-gardeningMaybe one of the reasons Southerners love college football so much is that it takes place in the cooler part of the year. It’s much more enjoyable to cheer on the Crimson Tide in the fall than during steamy Alabama summers. It’s also easier for the football players to stay safe, and avoid exerting themselves in the heat. Everyone, from quarterbacks to young children to the elderly, even outdoor pets, needs to be cautious when temperatures climb.

It’s easy to get overheated or dehydrated when the mercury spikes, even if you aren’t practicing offensive plays. In fact, seniors are more likely to suffer from the summer heat, and it’s more than a matter of being uncomfortable. Dehydration from being in the heat and not getting ade-quate liquids can lead to hospitalization. Seniors may have reduced renal function due to kidney conditions or medications, or may not be as sensitive to sensations of thirst as they once were. Some may have trouble swallowing or have side effects from medication or other conditions like dry mouth that could exacerbate or mask symptoms of dehydration.

At Regency Retirement Village of Tuscaloosa, our caretakers are trained in looking out for these signs and symptoms, and taking steps to prevent them. However, people of all ages, from the very young to the very old, should keep an eye on one another and look out for symptoms including mouth dryness, in-frequent urination or urine that is a dark or deep yellow, cramping in limbs, headaches, the inability to cry tears, a general feeling of weakness or malaise, low blood pressure, rapid but weak pulse, dry or sunken eyes, or change in pace of breath. After all, it’s easy to get dehydrated quickly with Alabama’s hot summers.

One of the easiest ways to stay refreshed and healthy is to avoid the heat as much as possible. The coolest parts of the day are morning and evening. Not only does staying inside near a fan or in air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day keep you cool and comfortable, it also keeps you out of harsh UV rays that can contribute to skin cancer, or at the very least an unpleasant sunburn. If you enjoy gardening, your plants will thank you, too, for tending to them when the sun is at its mildest, when they, too can more readily absorb water. If you must go out in the heat of the day, wear loose fitting clothing made from natural fibers, like cotton or linen. These are more breathable and will help you feel cooler and wick sweat away from the body, so you don’t need to produce as much to maintain your body temperature.

You can also take refuge from the heat by enjoying air conditioned activities indoors. Try an in-door picnic, organizing your photos into albums, playing parlor games with friends, crafts and other hobbies, or planning your next trip. There’s plenty of fun to be had out and about, too, that will keep you comfortably air conditioned. You can catch the latest flick at the movie theater, or take the grandkids to Cobb Theater’s free summer kids movies Tuesdays, Wednesdays, , and Thursdays at 10AM at the Hollywood 16 Theatre at the corner of Skyland Blvd and Old Greens-boro Road. They play some fun throwbacks like Muppets Take Manhattan. Go window-shopping at Midtown Village for a fun air-conditioned outing. Or savor some of Tuscaloosa’s great museums. There’s plenty you can do to stay cool until milder weather and football season come around again!