Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: What’s the Difference?

Almost 70% of seniors need assistance at some point in their lives. Whether it’s short-term care, long-term care, assisted living, or memory care, there comes a time when a family member needs more help. 

With many different options, it’s tough to know which one is the right decision, especially if they sound the same. Understanding the difference between assisted living and memory care is the first step to making the right call for the type of care your loved one needs.

Five Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Assisted living and memory care are excellent programs that help seniors enjoy their golden years. But there are distinct differences in the purpose, daily life, safety measures, environment, and cost of each program and facility.

Assisted LivingMemory Care
PurposeFamilies should consider assisted living programs if their loved one needs help with daily living activities but still has sound reasoning and judgment. 
Its sole purpose is to give the elderly a place to live their golden years with a bit of help.
Memory care communities are the right place for families who have a loved one who needs help with daily activities and is suffering from memory loss.
The primary purpose of memory care programs is to give the individual the mental stability and help they need.
Daily LifeDaily life in an assisted living community is similar to life on your own, except for having people help maintain the facilities and grounds.
Residents go about their day as usual without the additional responsibility of caring for a home.
Most activities in a memory care facility focus on slowing the effects of memory loss and helping individuals live their life to the fullest potential.
Safety MeasuresPeople in assisted living communities often have emergency systems set up and daily check-ins to help ensure they’re safe. Most other security doesn’t exist.People who suffer from mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimers can experience aggression and instability.

Many facilities include more safety precautions like locked doors and curfews to prevent wandering.
EnvironmentAssisted living facilities replicate someone’s home and yard.

They often include beautiful facilities and yards with trees, flowers, and gardens.
Memory Care communities feature safe environments with secured doors and a fenced courtyard. Staff members have specific Alzheimer’s and memory care training so your loved one will receive the proper care and treatment.
CostThe cost of assisted living communities varies depending on location and amenities.
You’ll need to reach out to the community you’re interested in to learn the current rates.
How much you spend on memory care depends on the location and facility.

You’ll need to reach out to the community you’re interested in to learn the current rates.



What’s Right for Your Loved One?

When the time comes for your family to decide which facility works best for your loved one in need, consider the kind of care they need. The most significant difference between assisted living and memory care is the facility’s purpose, which dictates the kind of daily care your aging loved one receives.

Pivotal Health Care is proud to serve the community, and we offer several facilities with assisted living locations and memory care assistance. Call us today to start the conversation.

Should You Move Your Parents Close to You?

Do you still live where you grew up as a child? Chances are you don’t–only 42% of Americans live in or near their hometown. 

So as your parents get older and need medical assistance and support, you have a difficult choice: do you move them closer to you or leave them where they are? This predicament is all too common for Gen X, and soon it will become a hard decision for millennials. 

If your family members still live where you grew up, they’ve been there for decades, making it hard for them to leave. But if you move them closer to you, you can take better care of them.

It’s common to feel trapped In this situation. Use this guide to help you have this complicated conversation with your family member(s).

Why You Should Move Them Closer

When the responsibility to care for your aging parents is on your shoulders, the easy solution is to bring them closer to you, no matter how far you live.

Whether you’re single or have an entire family, it’s “easier” for your parents to move nearby than for you to uproot your life (home, work, school, community).

However, there is one thing to consider before moving your parents closer–what’s best for them?

The only way to answer this question is to have a conversation with the other family members.

When you talk to them about moving closer, consider using these talking points:

  • You can visit more often.
  • You can cater to their needs.
  • You can travel with them to doctor’s appointments.
  • You can care for them in your home (if you decide to have them move in with you).

Why You Should Leave Them Where They Live

On the contrary, not everyone is ready to move their elderly parents closer, or the elderly parent refuses to leave their home.

In situations like these, it’s essential to consider why it’s best to leave your parents where they live.

  • They’re familiar with the local care and medical facilities.
  • They have friends and family nearby.
  • They’re comfortable in their home.

Although this decision can be hard for you to accept, aging adults need to enjoy their living quarters and the local area.

After decades of living in one place, your parents made many friends who helped them through various phases of life. But these friends have done more than help them physically. They’ve helped them emotionally–people are happier when their best friends live within a mile of them.

Having essential people nearby might be the difference-maker for someone’s health to improve or spiral out of control.

What Should You Do?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer on whether or not you should move your parents close to you–the two of you need to come to an agreement on what’s best for everyone.

And if you speak with your parents before making a decision, you can work out a schedule that fits everyone’s life.

If you decide to look into an assisted living facility, consider Pivotal Health Care. Our facilities are excellent for helping older adults adjust to new stages in life.

Are Medicare and Medicaid the Same Thing?

In 2020, over 297 million people had health insurance in the US. This number is a drastic increase from the previous decades. 

However, over 30 million people are still without essential health benefits, making up nearly 10% of the country.

Since 1965, both Medicare and Medicaid have helped retirees and low-income families get the covered services to pay health care costs.

Because these services have similar names, many people confuse them. In short, Medicare is for adults 65 and older and for those with specific disabilities. 

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Medicaid is for anyone who qualifies. Although adults 65 and older can use both plans if eligible, someone on Medicaid cannot necessarily use Medicare.

Since these two programs are different, when should you look into each one?

Everything You Need to Know About Medicare

When you join Medicare, there are four options available within the program. Understanding these four parts of the program is the best way to get the most out of your medical coverage.

Part ARequired under Social SecurityHospital insurancePay deductibles and coinsurance
Part BRequired under Social SecurityMedical insurance for services and equipmentDoctors visitsOutpatient care
Part CMany people who qualify for Parts A and B can sign up for Part C if they want.HearingVisionDentalPrescription drugsPay out-of-pocket
Part DPrescription drug coveragePay out-of-pocketDeductiblesYearly copaymentsAvailable for those who don’t qualify for Part C’s prescription drug coverage

Essential Information About Medicaid

Medicaid services are an option for those who need the federal government and state-run health coverage but are below 65 years of age.

Since there is no age restriction on Medicaid eligibility, many people qualify who don’t already have insurance if they fall under the income threshold.

There are a few types of people who may qualify for Medicaid programs:

  • Adults over 65 who need additional coverage to their Medicare plan
  • Adults under 65 who fall under the income threshold and meet the qualifications for their state.
  • Children who do not have any health coverage (children’s health insurance program).

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Qualification for Medicaid coverage varies by state, but the type of coverage also varies. Medicaid is a federal and state-run program, which is why there are variations depending on your location.

Make sure you check the qualifications for your state. Depending on your location, you might receive coverage for the following:

  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory services
  • X-rays
  • Doctor services
  • Family planning
  • Nursing services
  • Nursing facility services
  • Home healthcare for people eligible for nursing facility services
  • Clinic treatment
  • Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
  • Midwife services

One of the most significant differences between Medicare and Medicaid is that the latter provides nursing home and personal care services, which Medicare doesn’t typically cover.

Which One is Best for You?

If you are of retirement age, you more than likely qualify for Medicare. One of the great things about Medicare is that you can pair it with Medicaid if you qualify in your state.

In other words, you don’t have to worry about a lack of coverage when you retire. Contact your local state office or visit their website to learn more.

Where To Find Senior Living Community Reviews

Over the last couple of years, you have found yourself doing more work than usual to help your aging loved ones. You’ve decided it’s time to look for a senior living facility, but you aren’t sure who to trust. Use this guide to learn about the two types of websites to find reviews and how to tell if they’re honest so you can find excellent assisted living communities near you.

Third-Party Review Sites

Third-party review sites (like Yelp!) are a great way to find objective reviews on senior living communities. When scouring these sources, you want to employ a method I like to call “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” adopted from Clint Eastwood’s hit film, to help you find the perfect assisted living facility.

  • The Good–These five-star reviews praise the community and elaborate on specific aspects of care and life. These reviews should be 20-30% of the thoughts you read.
  • The Bad–These are the three-star reviews. Family members who rate a service three stars share good and bad things. These reviews should make up 40-60% of your readings.
  • The Ugly–These reviews are the worst of the worst. Please don’t spend too much time in this section since nobody has anything good to say, but don’t completely overlook it either. Ugly reviews can shed light on serious issues that might present themselves when you visit senior living facilities. Nonetheless, don’t spend more than 10-30% of your time reading these reviews.

When you implement this strategy on third-party reviews, you can synthesize the information and make an educated decision. But don’t stop there–visit the parent site for each assisted living community you consider.

The Parent Website

It’s essential to visit the assisted living facility’s website, so you can learn about the offered services and whether it’s a fit. While on this page, look for reviews, but take them with a grain of salt–companies traditionally only share raving reviews.

When looking at these reviews, pay close attention to ones that specify services and amenities–these will give you a clear indication of whether or not the review is credible and if the community fulfills its promises. 

How To Tell If Reviews Are Honest

The hardest part about this entire process is knowing whether you can trust a review. To help you harmonize dozens and hundreds of reviews, use these three tips:

  1. The General Consensus–Try to get a feel for how the general population using the specific community feel about their loved one’s treatment.
  2. Rating Average–Cross-reference the average rating with the reviews in that category, and that will give you a clear picture.
  3. Website Reputation–This tip is specifically for third-party reviews websites. If you find a review site you’ve never heard of and there aren’t many reviews available, don’t invest much time. Finding reputable reviews starts with a reputable site.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect independent living community is tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right tools, you can quickly navigate the online community to find a new home for your aging loved one that improves everyone’s life.

If you’re in the Midwest, look for a Pivotal Health Care community near you. We have over 50 years of experience in the management of assisted living facilities, so we know what it takes to provide top-tier senior care. Schedule a tour with us today at the nearest location to take the next step into your future.

2021’s Best Gifts for Seniors

senior receiving a gift

There are thousands, if not millions, of options available every holiday shopping season. The sheer number of great gift ideas is overwhelming. You know you need to get something that can make life easier for your senior, but you don’t know what to get them. Here are four thoughtful gift ideas focused on safety, independence, and family.

Amazon Echo

Smart Homes made a significant impact in 2021. Smart homes have been around for years, but now that most Americans have smartphones, you can control everything in your home from your pocket. Coupled with smartphones, the Amazon Echo is an excellent tool for monitoring and maintaining your home.

Seniors can use the Echo for assistance, including:

  • Playing music
  • Searching the internet
  • Ordering goods on Amazon
  • Controlling lights, thermostat, windows, and security systems

The Amazon Echo is a wonderful gift for your senior to have independence with a nearby assistant.

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Non-Slip Socks

Every hour, seven seniors die by falling. Coordination and health typically decline once a person reaches 65 years of age. Non-slip socks are great gifts for seniors. Bombas makes excellent gripped socks to keep your family members on their feet instead of their backside. From their high-quality material to unique design, Bombas are committed to keeping you on your feet.

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Digital Photo Frame

As more and more people use their phones to take pictures, printed photo books are no longer as popular as they once were. However, finding photos on your phone and learning new technology is tedious and challenging. A digital photo frame like View Clix is a great tool to share precious memories with your loved ones.

With View Clix, you can send images, keep a scrolling photo album, and video chat. It is made specifically for seniors, so the tool is simple to use and always on. View Clix is compatible with virtually all devices, so it doesn’t matter if you have Apple or Android. This digital photo frame and video chat service is the perfect way to keep your family together and share sweet moments with future generations.

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DIY Meal Delivery

One of the best things about 2021 is the simplification of cooking. Over the last several years, more and more meal delivery services have been popping up and making dinner time simpler for families across America. Everything about this process is easy. Regardless of which service you use, you order your meals online and the business sends your uncooked food in a safe box outfitted to keep your food cold. Once you receive your food, you have everything you need to make an easy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each shipment comes with a recipe card and all of your necessary ingredients. Services like HelloFresh and Home Chef keep seniors from running hours of errands at the grocery store and from having to carry the groceries into the house.

Conclusion

When you buy an Amazon Echo, Bombas socks, a digital photo album like View Clix, and a medical alert system, you are purchasing the very things your older loved ones need to stay safe. These gifts are as every much thoughtful as they are helpful and preventative. Buy safety and care this holiday season for your elderly family member.

Why Moving to Senior Living During the Winter Is a Great Idea

Winter is one of the most challenging times of year for everyone. While it’s a great opportunity to travel and see family for the holidays, the changes in weather create unsafe conditions for everyone. Seniors suffer the most in the winter because of the cold and isolation.

Pivotal Health Care’s senior living communities directly meet these concerns with a full staff of trained caregivers. If you have been going back and forth on moving into senior living, you will regret not doing it sooner by the time winter rolls around. Given the colder temperatures and hazardous conditions, a senior living community can help you stay warm, safe, and provide companionship.

Reason #1: Staying Warm is Essential

Our bodies are fantastic at managing internal temperature and finding ways to keep us warm. We sweat in the summers to lower our body temperature. We shiver in the cold to raise our body temperature.

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Nonetheless, if your body needs to constantly regulate temperature due to external conditions, you are overexerting your body. After a few weeks, your body will be tired and vulnerable to sickness and disease. 

In a senior living community, you are surrounded by friends and caregivers who will make sure your room and home are warm and that all your heating needs are met.

Reason #2: Staying Safe in Hazardous Weather

During the winter, we get rain, snow, hail, and ice. It can be incredibly dangerous to venture out into the elements on your own. Driving becomes much tougher when there is black ice or freezing rain.

If you are living on your own or with your partner in the winter months, you have an increased chance of injury or death. Even though Kansas and Missouri don’t get the most snow in the country, we receive enough to warrant regular shoveling. When older adults shovel snow on their own, they increase the risk of injury

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Reason #3: Senior Living Provides Companionship

The winter months are synonymous with holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. Families love to gather together for any and all holidays. Unfortunately, while we might gather together for a day or two on the occasion, many seniors are left home alone outside of holiday trips.

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When you combine shorter days with loneliness, it’s no surprise that seniors struggle with depression. In a senior living community, your loved one can enjoy the holidays with family without worrying about what happens when everyone leaves. Once their family leaves, they still have their friends in the community and caregivers who are there to meet their needs and share stories. Senior living provides the necessary companionship for a healthy aging process.

Conclusion

The winter months bring great beauty and festivities, but they also leave seniors in precarious positions. If you move into a senior living community in the winter, you are guaranteed to be warm, safe, and have companionship. 

At Pivotal Health Care, we want to help you live your best life. With our senior living communities, you can experience and enjoy your senior years as much as possible. Contact us today to set up a free visit and meeting.

Easy DIY Costumes for Seniors

Easy DIY Costumes for Seniors

Halloween season is upon us and stores are filled with costumes for you to choose from. However, you don’t really want to spend money on costumes you will only wear once for a little while with your grandchildren. Make your own costumes using things around the house and from your closet.

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5 Easy Halloween Costumes

Farmer

Farmers are a classic Halloween costume. Not only are they easily recognizable, but they are also easy to create with a few things at home.

Here’s what you need for your farmer costume:

  • Overalls
  • Boots
  • Flannel or plaid shirt
  • Handkerchief or bandana
  • Hat
  • Shovel or pitchfork (optional)

For this costume, all you have to do is get dressed and carry a few items around. You can save money and be super comfortable. Who doesn’t love a pair of overalls and flannel?

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Couples Costume: Popeye and Olive Oyl

For those of you looking to match your significant other, there are several options available. It’s normal for people to feel silly dressing up on their own, but when you can get dressed up and match someone, it becomes much more fun. Dressing up as Popeye and Olive Oyl is a classic Halloween costume with nostalgic roots for many seniors.

It’s incredibly easy to dress up at home. Here’s what you need for your costume:

Popeye

  • Jeans
  • Brown shoes
  • Black t-shirt
  • Red bandana
  • Captain’s hat
  • Pipe

Olive Oyl

  • Brown shoes
  • Black skirt
  • Red blouse

This costume is sure to get some smiles and may even win you a costume contest. Other options for couples’ Halloween costumes include Princess Peach and Mario, Oil and Vinegar, and Salt and Pepper.

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Milburn Pennybags

Milburn Pennybags, lovingly known as Mr. Monopoly is a great Halloween costume that is a surefire way to get a conversation started.

Here is what you need to look like the famous board game character:

  • Black suit jacket
  • Black pants or blue pants
  • White dress shirt
  • Red tie
  • Wooden cane
  • Iconic white mustache (real or fake)
  • Bag of money (optional)

If you notice, we didn’t mention a monocle, and that’s because Mr. Pennybags never officially wore a monocle. This Mandela Effect has confounded people for decades, but it is true. Wearing a monocle might look right, but it certainly wouldn’t be authentic.

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Punny Costume

Everyone loves puns. And there is nothing better than seeing the look of realization on people’s faces when they get your joke. This Halloween, try a clever costume and see how many of your family and friends get your joke.

Here’s what you need for this Halloween costume:

Breadwinner

  • T-shirt
  • Gold medal
  • Loaf of bread

Chip on Your Shoulder

  • T-shirt (color to match the color of the chip bag)
  • Bag of chips

Smarty Pants

  • Pants
  • Smarty candy

*You can use hot glue or scotch tape for each of these costumes to hold it together

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This Halloween, don’t settle for what you can find in stores. Nothing brings more joy and smiles than well-crafted DIY Halloween costumes. With these easy costumes, you are sure to spend more time with your family and friends and less time picking out a costume.

3 Best Dog Breeds for Older Adults

Dog’s are called “man’s best friend” for a reason. They are loyal companions who show unwavering love to their owners. Similar to people, there are thousands of breeds with a variety of personality traits. Some dogs are better with children. Others require a more active lifestyle. There are dog breeds for seniors that would be especially great for you. 

As you are looking for your next best friend, consider adopting a dog with the right energy level, manageable cleanliness, and a friendly personality.

What to Look For in Dog Breeds for Seniors

Dogs have an array of personality traits. It’s important to know what you are looking for in a dog before you start shopping. You need to consider the energy level, cleanliness, and friendliness of your next companion.

  • Energy Level: It’s essential to know the energy level you can handle with a dog. If you walk in the mornings and evenings, a more active breed will fit your lifestyle.
  • Cleanliness: Cleanliness is essential. Hypoallergenic and noshed breeds are great options to consider.
  • Friendliness: Most people want friendly dogs. It is crucial to consider the balance you desire between warm and protective.

Once you’ve considered the kind of personality and energy level you want in your companion, it’s time to start looking into breeds that fit your lifestyle and requirements.

3 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and West Highland White Terrier have proven to be the best companions for seniors.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These gentle lap dogs are an excellent choice for seniors. They are considered a toy dog breed and come in at 13” tall and weigh between 13-18 pounds. With a 12-15 year life expectancy, these pups will be your best friend for a long time. This breed requires moderate exercise. They are easy to train and incredibly friendly with all people.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgis are easy to train and love daily walks and exercise. Their playfulness translates well to being great around other people. This breed is an excellent senior pet, standing 10-12” tall and weighing in at around 30 pounds. With their playful demeanor and low maintenance, you will enjoy spending time outside with your pup.

West Highland White Terrier

These happy, loyal, and entertaining dogs are a joy to watch and own. They are small too. These Terriers are 10-11” tall and weigh 15-20 pounds. They also live for a long time with a life expectancy of 13-15 years. These dogs have loud personalities and love to make you smile and laugh.

Conclusion

When looking for a new dog, it is essential to find one that fits your lifestyle. The best dogs for seniors are smaller, friendly, easy to maintain, and easily trained. These kinds of dogs are great senior pets and will be around for 10-15 years. 

If you are interested in adopting these breeds, continue your research at the American Kennel Club. They have excellent information on all breeds, so you can find the right companion.

Why You Should Choose Senior Living Sooner Rather Than Later

Over thousands of years, humans have shown that we prefer structure and routine over impulsivity and “c’est la vie” attitudes. We like the familiar over experiencing something new.

This attitude is especially true when we consider moving, even more so when someone decides to move to senior living.

Moving can be a difficult decision for many families because there are many things to consider.

Thankfully, with communities through Pivotal Health Care, moving sooner rather than later is smoother and more manageable than expected.

But it all starts with you. You need to do it sooner than later!

Why?

Moving When You Are Healthy Makes for an Easier Transition Period

Moving can be an incredibly stressful experience. It is even harder to do when you are not healthy and feeling well.

Making the transition to an independent living community when you are in good health helps ease this difficult transition by simply minimizing your stress.

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According to the CDC, between 2014-2017, the emergency department (ED) visit rate for persons aged 60 doubles by the time the person reaches 90 and over.

In other words, as you get older, your health declines rapidly, and you need healthcare services.

Don’t wait to be in critical health for you to decide to move.

Take Advantage of Opportunities Available in the Community

Unfortunately, as a person ages, some things become more challenging to do than others. For some seniors, a simple walk is no longer possible without assistive aid.

Senior living communities have so much to offer seniors both recreationally and socially. The younger you move in, the more you can take advantage of these opportunities. Participating in activities has been proven to boost your mood and health.

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All PHC facilities have an activity director who organizes events and gatherings for residents.

There Is Minimal Home Maintenance

Home maintenance can be a hassle. You don’t have to worry about the minutiae involved with taking care of a home when you live in a senior living community.

Senior living communities provide services to minimize the stress and frustration that can come with home maintenance. From regular lawn maintenance to safety and security, you are taken care of at all times.

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This way, you can enjoy independent living without all the responsibility sooner rather than later.

A Senior Living Community Cost Less Than a Nursing Home

Finances are always something to be considered. Saving money allows for more fun and enjoyment like trips, accessories, and fun outings!

Paying for a nursing home can cost over $100,000 per year. A senior living community costs less than half of that per year, which means you can spend more time and money doing the things you love.

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Conclusion

Moving out of a home is hard. It’s even harder when you think you are going to some strange place.

Thankfully, senior communities are homes. And they can be your home.

The worst thing to do is wait until it is too late to move into senior living.

Everyone who has walked through the doors of a PHC community wishes they came sooner.

So why wait? Live life to the fullest. Learn more and book your tour now!

Five Ways for Seniors to Stay Hydrated During Hot Summer Months

It’s hot and humid, but the sun is shining without a cloud in sight. It is easy to throw caution to the wind and run outside with your kids and grandkids. It’s also easy to suffer from dehydration in this kind of heat.

By no means should you stay inside all summer and never enjoy this beautiful weather. Here are five ways to stay hydrated during the hot Summer months.

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Five Ways to Stay Hydrated 

Water

Simple enough, right? Water is the best way to stay hydrated during the summer months, but it can be a hassle to keep up with it. And if you are out and about with friends and family, it can be more challenging to make sure you are drinking enough water. The best way to correct this is to set reminders on your phone every 15-20 minutes. When the reminder rings, it is time to drink a glass of water.

Electrolytes

Water is the best hydrator, but you can be in danger if your salt levels are too low. If you have not supplemented enough salt into your diet during the day, you must drink electrolytes. Some electrolyte

 options include Gatorade, Body Armor, Liquid I.V., and coconut water.

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Cooling Towels

Our bodies are pretty temperamental. Cooling towels are excellent choices to help stay hydrated because they assist your body’s natural regulation system–homeostasis. As you hydrate, keep a cooling towel on your neck to help your body maintain a stable temperature.

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Avoid Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Stay hydrated this summer by avoiding energy drinks and alcohol during the day. Energy drinks contain copious amounts of caffeine and sugar. Even if you get sugar-free beverages, the caffeine can hurt your heart as your body works to stay hydrated.

Alcohol is another drink to avoid. While you might enjoy a cold drink at the end of the day, drinking a few during the day while outside will dehydrate your body more quickly.

It is best to save energy drinks and alcohol for times when you are inside and relaxed.

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Don’t Be Outside for Too Long

When you enjoy the beautiful weather, it is easy to forget how long you have been outside. Unfortunately, the longer you are out in hot and humid weather, the harder it is for your body to stay hydrated.

Limit your time outside to less than an hour when you have no coverage or indoor facilities nearby. If you want to take long walks and strolls, try going during the morning or later in the evening.

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Enjoy Your Summer, and Stay Safe

The most important thing for you to do this summer is enjoying it with your friends and family. When you use these five tips along the way, you are guaranteed to have a safe summer regardless of the heat and humidity.

So get out there. Enjoy your summer, and stay safe!