Staying cool in hot, smoky weather

ADRC Answer of the Month

We all love summer and sometimes our Alaska summers are warmer and smokier than others. How do you stay cool?

Seniors need to be careful of overheating, our bodies don’t adjust as well to higher temperatures, and we tend to get more dehydrated. Medical conditions can change body response to heat. Some prescription medicines can also have an impact on our bodies’ ability to stay cool.

Following are a few tips we found to stay cool:

Don’t wait until you feel thirsty – drink plenty of cool water throughout the day.

Popsicles, flavored ice cubes frozen on a toothpick, and slightly frozen grapes are great snack options.

Stay away from hot dishes and try eating lighter. Cold salads with chicken or pasta are a good choice.

A cool washcloth on the back of the neck feels good as a cool down option.

If possible, visit places like your local senior center or recreation center, library, coffee shop, shopping mall, grocery store or movie theatre.

Take a cool shower or bath. It is amazing how much cooler you will feel.

If you use ice packs to cool down, be sure to protect your skin with a towel.

Sometimes it is hard to keep the house as cool as possible. As much as we Alaskans love our sun, keeping shades closed may be the way to go. Especially when smoke from wildfires make it impossible to open all the windows. Consider inexpensive solar or blackout curtains.

It is amazing how much fans help cool down a room.

If you are outside

enjoying the coolest parts of the day, remember to apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses. And remember to check out air quality alerts for the possibility of smoke from wildfires.

Lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes are best for staying cool in the heat.

Stay safe, stay cool, and enjoy your summer, everyone.

Submitted by Maureen Haggblom, Anchorage Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) program manager, and the Anchorage ADRC team.

Alaska's Aging and Disability Resource centers connect seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers with long-term services and supports. For assistance and answers, call your regional ADRC toll-free at 1-855-565-2017. Or visit the Alaska Div. of Senior and Disabilities Services ADRC website at