Safety Tips for Summer Heat

Two elderly ladies beating the summer heat

Seniors can be affected by heat-related issues faster and with great consequence than younger folks. So it’s important for them to be aware and take precautions.

With summer in full swing, temperatures are on the rise. For the most part, we enjoy mild summers in the Pacific Northwest. And we take advantage of the few months of sunshine we get. But, there are times when the thermometer climbs past the 80’s and into the 90’s – sometimes even triple digits. When the weather gets that warm, and sticks around for a few days, it’s time to take the proper precautions.

While many of these suggestions work for everyone, they are even more important for our older loved ones. Seniors can suffer from poor circulation and inefficient sweat glands. The inability to sweat due to certain medications, and other issues make sweltering heat more of an issue. Seniors can be affected by heat-related issues faster and with great consequence than younger folks. So it’s important for them to be aware and take precautions.

Here are a few tips our older loved ones can follow when the temperatures begin to get too high:

  1. Hydration – drinking plenty of water is a good idea every day, but even more so during warmer days. On the flip side, avoid caffeine or alcoholic drinks as those tend to dehydrate the body.
  2. Wear Proper Clothes – Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to get all bundled up to go out in the middle of summer. While it is still a good idea to cover up as much as possible with a long-sleeved shirt, pants, or long dress, make sure the clothes are made of lighter material and are a little loose fitting. Adding a large-brimmed hat will help protect your skin from the sun as well.
  3. Keep Cool At Home – If your home is not equipped with air conditioning, and you know it will be a warm day, open the windows to your home in the morning while it is still cool. As the temperature begins to rise, close the windows and shades to keep the cool air trapped in your home. In the evening, open everything up again. For safety sake, close windows at night, although second-story windows may be left open.
  4. Keep Cool Away from Home – When a string of 90-degree heat hits, it can be difficult to keep the home cool. It’s a good idea to find air conditioning elsewhere. In times of extreme heat, cooling stations are often set up around Clark County. Or you could visit the mall, go to a movie theater, or find a community center where you can spend a few hours during the warmest parts of the day.
  5. Pay Attention to Your Body – If you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or nauseous, you may be getting heat stroke. Get inside as soon as possible or call someone for help.

These are just a few ways to stay safe in the summer heat. It’s important for family members to check on older loved ones as well to make sure they are taking the proper precautions. Stopping by for a visit or even a phone call can make sure a senior is in good spirits and taking care of themselves.

Don’t forget those furry friends

One more thing to keep note of – higher temperatures can also affect pets, sometimes more dramatically. Many of the above steps – making sure plenty of water is available, staying out of the heat, and keeping the house cool can keep things comfortable for our furry friends as well. If you must leave the house, keep your pets at home. Leaving your dog in the car while you walk the mall or take in a movie for a few hours is a death sentence for our four-legged friends.

There is a lot to be aware of when the temperature goes up and up and up. But, it doesn’t mean seniors can’t enjoy the sunny days. Using the above tips, and a little common sense, can make a summer day enjoyable for all.

Summertime Activities in Vancouver WA

Summertime Activities in Vancouver, WA

Although the rainy Spring weather hasn’t left us entirely, sunnier, warmer days are in the near future. Previously, we wrote about the importance of Vitamin D, which is provided by sunlight. Increased bone growth and strength, lowered risk of disease, and eased thoughts of depression are just a few of the good side effects of Vitamin D.

And after months and months of rain and cold, it’s also just nice to be able to go outside whenever you want. With summer just around the corner, there are plenty of things to do in the Vancouver area.

Vancouver Farmers Market

This annual event starts in mid-March every year and ends at the end of October. For those seven months, 250 vendors set up shop just west of Esther Short Park. A short ride from Knights of Pythias Retirement Center, the market  is a great place to walk around for a few hours and soak up that valuable sunshine.

The market has fresh produce, flowers, and plants from local farms and gardens as well as home and garden accessories. Baked goods, delicious food, and other treats are also available and many booths provide arts and crafts. The Vancouver Farmers Market is also an excellent way to get out and socialize with other people as well, also important after a long winter indoors.

Six to Sunset Concerts

City of Vancouver Riverview Concert Series

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Located at Esther Short Park, the Six to Sunset concert series happens every Thursday from July 6-August 10 this year. This year, the series has quite the lineup:

July 6 – Blues and R&B performer Curtis Salgado

July 13 – R&B and Dance group Nu Shooz

July 20 – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

July 27 – 5 Guys Named Moe, a 13-piece horn-driven band performing 60’s hits

August 3 – Coolade, providing hits from the 60’s and today

Augst 10 – Saxaphonist to the stars Patrick Lamb

These evening concerts are a perfect chance to get out and enjoy some music after the temperatures begin to cool down. The concerts end at 8 p.m., which allows a little time to walk around the park and downtown Vancouver before the sun goes down for the day.

Cruise the Couve

Happening just outside Knights of Pythias Retirement Center’s front doors, Cruise the Couve is an all-day event for classic cars and modern marvels alike. Traveling down Main and Washington Streets, there are plenty of options for food and drink as well as two locations to donate food.

Other activities include A Family Fun Zone, Racer’s Row, and Live Music. Cruise the Couve is the ideal place to watch the muscle cars of yesterday – and maybe even a wood-paneled station wagon – cruising down the main drag like they did in the 60’s.

Knights of Pythias Yard Sale

Knights of Pythias Retirement Center Yard Sale

Don’t miss the Knights of Pythias Retirement Center Annual Yard Sale July 22 9 am to 3 pm!

Another outdoor event during the summer is the annual Yard Sale at Knights of Pythias. This year, the sale is on Saturday, July 22, from 9 am – 3 pm. In the back parking lot of KOPRC. The sale is run by Camelot Lodge #1, although the resident association does have it’s own area to sell their goods.

Clothing, household items, books, furniture, and so on will all be on display for purchase. Proceeds from the Camelot Lodge sales go towards activities they sponsor throughout the community, such as monthly dinners and entertainment for Knights of Pythias residents. Hot dogs, chili, and pop will also be available.

The sun is beginning to shine with a lot more frequency, and it’s important for older friends and family to get out and enjoy it. Along with the physical improvements a healthy dose of Vitamin D can provide, the mental stimulation of getting out and socializing is important, too.

Contact Knights of Pythias Retirement Center if you have any questions about our annual Yard Sale.

National Older Americans Month

National Older Americans Month

Established in 1963 as “Senior Citizens Month,” the now named Older Americans Month was created as a way to celebrate the contributions of older people, both past and present. And even though we are nearly halfway through May, it’s important to hold these ideals all year round.

For 2017, the theme of the month is “Age Out Loud,” a play on the “Laugh Out Loud” acronym made famous in the internet age. Past themes have been Blaze a Trail, Safe Today. Health Tomorrow, and Never Too Old To Play. Throughout the month of May, OAM is celebrated across the country with ceremonies, events, and fairs according to the Administration for Community Living.

National Older Americans Month

Our parents and older loved ones are working longer, adapting to new technologies, and engaging more in their communities.

More than 50 years after its inception, OAM is as important as ever. Our parents and older loved ones are working longer, adapting to new technologies, and engaging more in their communities. Independence is key in that respect, as many seniors desire to take hold of their lives and make their own decisions.

For many older Americans, a helping hand is needed to remain as independent as possible. This could mean driving a parent to a senior center for much needed socialization or setting up doctors appointments. Access to housing, food, and health care are paramount for an aging community.

The Knights of Pythias Retirement Center offers older loved ones a safe home, one meal a day and 24-hour security. Residents live in their own apartments close to shopping and bus lines, allowing them to retain their independence. Through the City of Vancouver, there are plenty of options for exploring with the 50+ Trips and Activities Programs as well as several programs throughout the year at our center.

May is Older Americans Month, a time to reflect on older citizens in our nation. In actuality, our older loved ones deserve respect all year round. At Knights of Pythias Retirement Center, they’ll also retain their independence. Contact Knights of Pythias Retirement Center today for a tour!

Springtime for Seniors

Springtime for Seniors

As the Pacific Northwest starts moving towards Spring, many of us are able to get out and enjoy the sunnier weather. Soaking up some rays is just as important for older loved ones, too. But make sure to take some precautions before heading out to take in the day.

Even in short bursts, a little bit of Vitamin D – provided by sunlight – can go a long way. Vitamin D can help the body by increasing bone growth and strength and lowering the risk of disease, and after several months of being cooped up inside, a little bit of sun can even help with depression. Additionally, walking around the neighborhood or going to a park can also spur conversations with neighbors and other socializing, vital for keeping spirits up.

Seniors walking in a park in Vancouver WA

Walking around the neighborhood or going to a park can also spur conversations with neighbors and other socializing, vital for keeping spirits up.

For some, putting on a warm coat and taking an outdoor stroll requires little more thought than opening the front door. For others, particularly with mobility or other issues, a little more planning is needed. With April showers bringing May flowers, some surfaces may be wet with rain and cause a potential slipping hazard. Depending on the how long a senior wants to be outside, dehydration could be a factor too, so remember to bring some water for the trip.

Start choosing a path now if a walker or wheelchair are needed to get moving. Rough sidewalks – or no sidewalks at all – can be troublesome for those with mobility issues. If a quick stroll around the block becomes too much of a hassle, or just too difficult, these much needed bursts of sun and activity may be abandoned altogether.

In the weeks leading up to the warmer weather, older loved ones can start strengthening muscles with chair exercises and other indoor physical activity to get ready for the upcoming sunny excursions.

For many of us in the Pacific Northwest, dealing with the cold, wind, and rain is just a fact of life. But when the sun finally starts poking through, it’s important we all make the time to enjoy it. Especially for seniors, even if it takes a little planning to do so.

The Knights of Pythias Retirement Center is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver, WA. Our location offers many opportunities for residents to get out and about all year round. Contact Knights of Pythias Retirement Center to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Flu Warning Signs

Flu Warning Signs

Although the coldest weather of the year may be behind us, constant rain, wind and still cool temperatures can still cause the sniffles. And, in some cases, something much worse: the flu.

The flu is currently categorized as widespread in the state according to the Washington State Department of Health. Vaccinations are recommended for everybody 6-months-old and older, but it might be too late in the season to get one now.

How to Combat the Flu

Elderly with Flu Systems

Catching flu symptoms early is key for our elderly loved ones.

There are some simple steps to help combat the flu – such as covering your mouth when you cough, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick. To prevent germs from entering the body, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Plenty of rest, eating well (with plenty of vegetables), and managing stress will also help keep the flu at bay.

But what if an older loved one already has the flu, or may be on the verge of getting the flu? If not treated early enough, the flu can develop into pneumonia, especially in the people 65-years-old and over. The virus, in extreme cases, can even cause death the older the person gets.

Be Aware of the Symptoms

Catching flu symptoms early is key. If an older parent or loved is experiencing long periods of difficult breathing or shortness of breath, pain the stomach or chest, abrupt dizziness and continuous vomiting, seek professional medical help. If your parent is becoming dehydrated, they may be coming down with the flu. Headaches, dizziness, inability to urinate, and vomiting can be signs. In addition, if other conditions (heart problems, emphysema, or asthma) seem to be worsening, a doctor visit may be in order.

If these symptoms seem to persist, the flu may be progressing to pneumonia. Watch for shaking chills, high fever, or excessive sweating can be early warning signs of pneumonia. To help prevent this once the flu has been diagnosed, make sure your parents or older loved ones drink plenty of fluids, a lot of rest, and avoid cigarettes and alcohol. And a visit to the doctor is a must.

Recovering from the Flu

During the recovery period, it’s important to keep seniors comfortable and as free of stress as possible. Help around the house, prepare healthy food, and make sure they stay on schedule with their medications. All of these steps will help your parent back on their feet within two weeks. Knights of Pythias Retirement Center offers a tray delivery service of noon and supper meals to residents who are ill for up to 30 days. This is a way to keep germs from spreading as well.

Even though Spring is scheduled to begin in less than a month, the cold, wet, windy conditions are still present. make sure your loved one is taking steps to keep the flu bug away.