Summer is officially here, and it looks like we’re up to a long hot summer. Already hitting and staying for days at that 100 degree mark. One needs to worry if they have elderly parents living alone. The heat can cause dehydration and heat stroke.

“Ethel, would you go in and fetch me a glass of your good ole’ ice tea; it’s gettin’ hot out here on the porch”.

The fact is, the elderly population already frequently do not drink enough water; they run a little on the dehydrated side, especially in the summer when the heat dries them up like a prune. It is so important that they drink adequate fluids, (and I don’t mean moonshine). The average person should drink 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day. Far too many times in the summer, we don’t change our intake habits and heat stroke and other heat and dehydration ailments may happen.

“Hey, Ethel, while you’re in there, cut me a piece of that cold watermelon too; that’ll help take this swelter down a bit”.

Drinking enough fluids is the best, but there are other ways to get elderly parents/grandparents to fight dehydration, which is with good moist food, like fruits and vegetables, and of course, watermelon is at the top of the list- water. Other fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, peaches, and plums, all are good resources of moisture when your loved ones don’t drink that much water.

“Thanks Ethel. After I eat this here melon, what about we go in and sit in front of the fan; thermometer says its 102 out here on the porch. Probably ought to cool off a little”.

And even though a fan is better than nothing for cooling off, remember, that 102 temp doesn’t set well with most folks. They need to have some air conditioning of some type going on. Swamp coolers help as long as they are in the shade and water stays cool (oh, there’s the old throw the ice block in the swamp cooler thing that many people used to do when milk primarily came in cartons), swamp coolers don’t help much past 100 degrees.

Now, ya’ have to realize, most older folk have a limited income and can’t quite afford full on AC; makes the electric bill double or more. So, they will be frugile with running the AC anyway.

Things you can do to help your older loved ones during the hot spells: make sure they are getting enough fluids in their body- bring over fruits, vegetables and some good refreshing drinks. Check their cooling systems, change or clean the filters so they are working the best they can without overtaxing the electric bill. Give them a break; take them to your house on those hot days if they don’t quite have the cooling in their own.

And even if they are set up well at home, please check on your loved ones frequently.

“Hey, Ethel. Lookey there. The boy’s come by. Looks like he brought us some bottled water and a musk melon”.