Blog Home > Blog > Keeping Your Loved One Cool and Engaged: Summer Activity Ideas for Family Caregivers in California

As the sun shines brighter and temperatures rise in California, family caregivers face the challenge of ensuring their loved ones’ comfort and engagement during the hot summer months. Some areas in California have low air conditioning coverage, an ode to an era of cooler summers. Today, however, if you want to beat the heat, you may need to get creative. In this article, we’ll offer practical suggestions and empathetic guidance to help you ensure your loved one’s well-being while making the most of the summer season. Let’s dive in.

Beat the Heat Tip 1: Prioritize Comfort

When trying to keep your loved one cool this summer, here are some things to keep in mind to better prioritize comfort all summer:

  • Ensuring Hydration.
    Hydration is vital. Encourage your loved one to drink water regularly, and ensure fluids are readily accessible throughout the day. If your loved one likes cool water or you plan to be out all day, try an insulated water bottle or cooler in your car to maintain a lower water temperature.
  • Lightweight Clothing.
    In the summer months, attire can make all the difference. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton or linen to help increase breathability and prevent overheating.
  • Shaded Spaces.
    Wherever possible, try to create shaded areas in your outdoor space using umbrellas or another shade tool like a tree or pergola. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses can also shield your loved one from the sun’s rays in a pinch.

Beat the Heat Tip 2: Take Breaks Indoors

When the heat becomes overwhelming, consider these indoor strategies:

  • Air Conditioning.
    It goes without saying, but whenever possible, spend time in air-conditioned spaces during the hottest parts of the day to stay cool and comfortable. If you or your loved one don’t have air conditioning at home, you can make a trip to a local library, department store, mall, or grocery store to find some relief until the heat of the day passes. Some California counties also offer “cool zones” designed to help seniors and other vulnerable groups beat the heat all summer long at no cost.
  • Cooling Products.
    When needed, you can also use cooling products including cooling towels, fans, and portable air conditioners to regulate indoor and body temperatures more effectively.

Beat the Heat Tip 3: Find Engaging Activities

It can feel overwhelming and easy to go stir-crazy on a hot summer day. When needed, here are some activities to try:

  • Indoor Crafts.
    Engage your loved one with indoor crafting activities like painting, drawing, or simple crafts. These activities provide a creative outlet and keep them occupied mentally and resting physically to maintain cooler body temperatures.
  • Memory Activities.
    Memory-boosting activities are great for seniors and their ongoing brain power. Play games, solve puzzles, or take on scrapbooking projects to share stories, laugh, learn, and play together.
  • Virtual Tours.
    When it’s too hot to get out of the house, take an indoor adventure. You can try virtual tours of museums, historical sites, zoos, and botanical gardens. This allows you both to learn and enjoy new experiences from the comfort of your cooled home.

Beat the Heat Tip 4: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

The outdoors can be intimidating on a hot day. Here are a couple of recommendations to help you beat the heat safely while still getting time outdoors:

  • Morning and Evening Strolls.
    During a heat wave, it’s important to be strategic. Plan walks during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings, to enjoy the fresh air without the intense heat. As the sun sets or rises, you’ll find the air hopefully cooler and dewier, making for a better experience for both of you.
  • Water Activities.
    If feasible, try out some water-based activities like visiting local pools with floating devices. The water provides relief from the heat, and the experience can be calming for both you and your loved one.

Beat the Heat Tip 5: Cook Healthy Summer Meals

Nourishment is crucial to help you maintain a well-regulated body temperature on a hot summer day. Try incorporating more:

  • Fresh Fruits and Veggies.
    Incorporate hydrating fruits and vegetables into meals, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and berries to stay hydrated without feeling like you need to sit and chug water all day long.
  • Light Meals.
    Choose light and refreshing meals like salads, cold soups (here’s a gazpacho recipe for a popular Spanish take on this meal), and smoothies. These options are both nutritious and cooling.

Beat the Heat Tip 6: Plan for Safety

It’s always good practice to maintain a plan for safety, especially when engaging in hot summer activities. As such, don’t forget to:

  • Prioritize Emergency Preparedness.
    Have an emergency plan in place, including contact information for medical professionals and nearby cooling centers just in case the heat gets overwhelming quickly.
  • Monitor Sun Exposure.
    If heading outdoors, limit sun exposure during peak hours and apply sunscreen to protect your loved one’s skin. You should also familiarize yourself with signs of heat exhaustion so you can recognize it before it becomes a problem.

Closing Thoughts: Staying Cool All Summer Long

As summer soaks California in heat, taking care of your loved one takes a bit of thoughtful planning. But with a little preparedness, your summer will be full of joy and memories. 

We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of how to keep your loved one safe this summer. But if you have questions or want support connecting to additional resources, we encourage you to reach out to us and ask any questions you may have. 

Further Reading Spotlight: California Department on Aging

As an aging adult, California is one of the best places to be in the country. California has a wealth of resources and support available for elderly adults, family caregivers, and their families. From healthcare options to social services and financial resources, there are a number of programs ready to help you get the support you need. 

Let’s explore the resources and support available in California thanks largely to the California Department on Aging.

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