Finally, summertime! Hello June. Hello sunshine. Hello heat and hello dehydration. It really can sneak up on you. I know.
I’m lucky, ultimately nothing bad happened. I had been gardening. I didn’t bother to take a break or have anything to drink. I got a bit light-headed and felt unwell. A few glasses of water and a bit of down time in the shade and I was fine. But it hit me, I am now old enough to start taking dehydration seriously. So, I did a little research.
Seniors are at a greater risk of dehydration than younger adults.
Our bodies lose water as we age. Until we hit our forties the average human body is made up of about 52 to 60% water or fluids. After age sixty, those numbers drop by about 8%. It’s a natural occurrence which has to do with the loss of muscle mass as we get older and it’s the main reason seniors experience dehydration faster than younger adults. Add to that, as we age our thirst receptors become less efficient, so we don’t get the same cues to drink as we used to.
Even a mild case of dehydration can make you feel unwell. As a matter of fact, as a senior, by the time you start to feel a little woozy, you have likely already depleted your naturally reduced fluid levels by another 2 to 5%. More serious dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, urinary tract infections and a host of other ailments. Dehydration can happen easily. The good news is, it’s easy to prevent.
Stay hydrated. Eight glasses of water a day is the commonly held goal. I don’t want to feel woozy in the garden again, but wow, eight glasses a day is a challenge for me. So, I was delighted when I came across this little nugget in my research. While eight glasses a day is great, Baycrest Geriatric Centre in Toronto says most seniors only need to consume about 1500mls or 6 cups of water a day to stay healthy. I can do six! I know I can. I bet you can too.
Seniors are some of the most generous people I know. They like to give. They’re proud to be able to contribute to worthy causes and a recent Statistics Canada survey proves the point. Tax filing Canadians age 65 and over donated more money to charitable organizations in recent years than any other demographic. They donated more and their average individual donations were bigger than those of any other age group. Seniors are generous and they’re also smart. Donating to a recognized charity or organization which issues tax receipts serves two purposes: it reduces the amount of income tax one has to pay and it also lets the donor do some good by helping those in need.
Being able to support causes and initiatives you believe in is good stuff at any age, but in your retirement years it can be particularly fulfilling. Whether it’s being generous with your money if you’re in a position to or generous with your time, tapping into that desire to give and to be a part of something bigger than yourself can be really special, for both you and your community.
Northumberland County has a population of about 86,000 residents, a quarter of whom are in the 65+ crowd. A lot of those seniors are active, energetic people who want to volunteer their time. Lucky for us there is no shortage of worthy organizations or groups looking to add to their ranks. There are service clubs like Rotary and Lions. There’s the volunteer radio station Northumberland 89.7FM. The good people at Beyond the Blue Box and Greenwood Coalition are always happy to greet new volunteers as are countless other groups. The well of opportunity is deep for those who want to give.
I want to leave you with one of my favourite quotes on generosity. I think it’s perfect. “Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.” Anonymous.
*I would like to cover topics that are of interest to seniors. If you have suggestions or questions that you would like to have addressed, please feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or at (905) 372-1150 ext 222
Truth be told, until now I’ve had a hard time living up to my goal of being more active in 2019. I’ve been busy, but busy isn’t active. I honestly found it very hard to add more healthy activity to my routine when it was dark and cold outside. But now it’s April, the sun is shining and it’s time to get moving!
Every bit of activity or exercise we add to our routine is a good thing. And I mean every little bit.
- A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says that as little as ten minutes of ‘leisurely activity’ a week lowers your risk of cardiovascular or cancer related illness or death.
We’re talking about TEN minutes of gardening, dancing or walking. IN A WEEK! That is more than doable. And if we can do it in the sunshine, all the better.
Yes, activity in the sunshine. It feels good and it guarantees your daily requirements of vitamin D. That said, you’ve got to be smart about your exposure. I’ve survived cancer once. This summer will mark sixteen years since I beat breast cancer. I don’t want to have to fight skin cancer or any other form of it, ever again. And so, when it comes to sun exposure, I take all the necessary precautions. Here’s my go to list:
- Avoid the sun during peak hours. Generally, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — regardless of season. These are prime hours for exposure to skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, even on overcast days.
- Wear protective clothing. Pants, long sleeves, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Use sunscreen. Apply it generously and reapply regularly. Be sure your sunscreen is a broad-spectrum product that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. *Here’s a tip, check the expiry date on your sunscreen. While it doesn’t necessarily go bad, products do become less effective over time.
- Don’t forget to protect your lips! Many lip balms and even lipsticks, now come complete with sunscreen.
I love the sun. I always will. I also respect its power. Here’s to a spring and summer filled with healthy sunshine, happy activity and every good thing that makes you glad to be alive.
*I would like to cover topics that are of interest to seniors. If you have suggestions or questions that you would like to have addressed, please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (905) 372-1150 ext 222.