Why are older people so cool
Dangerous heat: This is what seniors should be aware of in summer
Midsummer is here and it's making Germany sweat. The heat causes problems for many people - especially the elderly. “Their bodies often react much more extreme to the high temperatures,” says Michael Schneider, senior physician at the Evangelical Center for Geriatric Medicine in Potsdam. If you want to really enjoy summer in old age, you should therefore follow a few tips.
Less water in the body, less feeling of thirst
But why do seniors struggle so much with high temperatures? First of all, there is a physiological reason for this: "Older people have significantly less water in their bodies, but a little more fat," says the President of the German Society for Geriatrics (DGG), Hans Jürgen Heppner. In addition, older people naturally feel less thirsty - why this is the case has not yet been conclusively researched, says Heppner.
To make matters worse, many seniors take drugs that lead to increased excretion of fluids. The lack of water can disrupt the blood circulation and the supply of important minerals to the brain, for example. This also explains why many dehydrated people appear confused or absent-minded.
Tips for hot days: how to endure the heat
Drink plenty of water when it's hot: A drinking schedule helps seniors
Water is the be all and end all in heat - regardless of age. Especially for seniors because of their low feeling of thirst: drink, drink and then have a drink. Heppner therefore recommends drinking at least one and a half liters on hot days - in addition to what you drink with your meal. “The best mineral water, an effervescent tablet or an isotonic drink.” However, this value is only an orientation - it can also be more or less individually. That depends on whether and how much someone is physically active. The daily amount should not be less than one liter, but in summer it should be a little more anyway. The first signs of dehydration are headaches and concentration problems, especially with older people, confusion is often added.
In order for the elderly to meet their fluid requirements, they should set up a fixed drinking schedule. If you like, you can fill up the amount for the day, for example, right in the morning and place it in the apartment where it is clearly visible. Or you decide to drink at least one glass with every meal. By the way, the drink can also taste good. Because, of course, water is usually the best choice - just a little boring. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) advises spicing it up with ginger, mint or orange slices, for example. Even juice is not taboo, says Ingrid Dänschel from the board of directors of the German Association of General Practitioners, on the contrary: “A juice spritzer made from a third of juice and two thirds of water can be better than water. This is how you take up the electrolytes that you lose when you sweat. "
This helps against heat in the apartment
But be careful: At some point too much water is no longer good. You shouldn't overdo it in summer either. "Simply drinking more and more unlimited amounts of food is no longer good for the heart," says Dänschel. If you have heart problems, you shouldn't drink too much either. "At the latest when your feet get fat, you should stop doing it and consult your family doctor." Prof. Dietrich Andresen from the German Heart Foundation therefore advises older heart patients to determine the daily amount they drink with their doctor.
New daily rhythm: older people should take a long nap
Drinking alone is not enough in summer. “At some point there is more heat than you can even drink,” says Christine Sowinski from the Kuratorium Deutsche Altershilfe (KDA). She therefore advises changing the daily rhythm at least in midsummer - following the example of southern countries. “So get up relatively early, ventilate the apartment and do things like shopping. And then really close the windows again at 11 o'clock, darken the apartment and take a long nap. "
Sleep is thus divided into two parts, the afternoon and the night - after all, it is difficult to sleep well and long in a row at high temperatures anyway. Instead, you should take advantage of the fact that it stays light for a long time, says Sowinski. "In the early evening you can get things done again or meet friends, for example."
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