Due to the heat, summer months (particularly July and August) can be a very difficult and uncomfortable time for the elderly. Of foremost concern are aging parents with chronic illnesses and/or those who take certain medications.

The biggest dangers for seniors are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Watch for light headed-ness and symptoms of fatigue.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

— Drinks lots of cool water even when you’re not thirsty. You can dilute water with a 50/50 mix of natural fruit juices if you desire a change. Avoid alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, coffee, cola, and caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration.

— Stay out of the blazing sun or heat whenever possible. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and try to go out early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler.

— Wear a hat and loose fitting, comfortable clothes with materials like cotton, linen, and silk. Avoid synthetic fabrics as they retain heat and may make you more uncomfortable. Also, dark colors absorb the heat – so stay with lighter colored clothing from the wardrobe closet.

— Take advantage of air conditioning or cool places like shopping malls, libraries, movie theaters, etc. A brief rest stop to cool down can be very helpful.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com