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Cape Girardeau summers have a lot going for them—sunshine, ice cream cones by the riverfront, going for walks, grandkids free from school enjoying outdoor sports, and more. But the high heat and humidity can also be difficult to endure, even for Missouri weather veterans. As the warm trends continue into August and September (and, let’s face it, sometimes October), it’s important to keep heat safety in mind so you can keep enjoying the good things summer has to offer.

As we age, it gets harder for our bodies to adapt to sudden or extreme fluctuations in temperature. Older adults are also more likely to have health conditions or take prescription medications that affect temperature regulation and even hydration levels.For example, if you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you might be prescribed a diuretic, aka water pills, which can make you more susceptible to dehydration.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when it heats up outside.

Stay hydrated

Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is always a good idea, but it’s especially important during the heat. You should drink more water than usual as a rule of thumb, even if you aren’t thirsty. Dehydration can sneak up on you, and you don’t have to feel thirsty to become depleted.

Stay away from sugary drinks like soda or lemonade when in the heat. The high sugar content can actually cause you to lose more fluids. Sports drinks like Gatorade can help replenish salt levels if you’ve been sweating, but be careful if you’re watching your sodium levels. Talk to your doctor about sports drinks if you’re on a salt-restricted diet.

Dress for the occasion

Taking in some sun is fun and great for you. However, as good as the sun can be, you still need to protect yourself while enjoying catching those rays. When spending time outside, you should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, sunglasses, and hats that shade your face. Wide-brim hats are ideal, but any hat with a brim is better than none.

Always remember to apply sunscreen, even if you won’t be outside for hours—sunburns can start to occur in as little as ten to fifteen minutes for pale-skinned individuals. And just because it’s overcast doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen; harmful UV rays are still able to penetrate cloud cover. Sunburns can be more severe in older adults, so preventing them in the first place is your best bet.

Plan fun indoor activities

Summertime isn’t just about the outdoors! Since grandkids are out of school, there are plenty of indoor activities you can enjoy together. Going to the movie theater to see a film and eat popcorn, checking out books at the library, putting together crafts, or visiting a museum are just a few great options for summer memory making. And let’s be honest—eating ice cream in the air conditioning is still a pretty great deal.

Check on one another

This one is good advice just in general, but especially during excessive heat, it's a good habit to check in with your friends and neighbors to make sure they’re staying cool and feeling well. And then they can return the favor for you!

Know the symptoms

Heat exhaustion can creep up on a person, so it’s important to know the symptoms so you can notice them in yourself and others around you. Some of the most common symptoms are excessive sweating, a flushed face or redness on lighter skin tones, headache, nausea, dizziness, and confusion. If these symptoms are present, get into the shade or preferably air conditioning as quickly as possible and rehydrate. Here is a complete reference from the CDC of symptoms and actions to take.

Keep these tips in mind, and stay safe out there while you enjoy this time of year. It’ll be snowing again before we know it!

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Christmas Traditions

For many of us, the best part about the holidays are the traditions. An important part of life at The Chateau is the preservation of all your favorite parts of the holidays. You don’t have to give up any Christmas traditions, but you sure can make a bunch of new ones! Here are just a few of our holiday favorites. Family Together This is especially important at The Chateau. We love seeing all of the family and friends come to visit. They’re invited to become a part of our community for a few days; visit with us, dine with us, and celebrate with us!

Baking

There’s something extra magical about sweets at Christmas time. Chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, peppermint bark, fudge--some with special secret recipes that are only allowed during Christmas.

Christmas Movies

Did you know that Christmas movie favorites vary by state? If you guessed Christmas Vacation for Missouri, you’d be right! Of course, there’s always the classics like White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and Holiday Inn. But we’re not opposed to the new kids on the block like The Grinch or Christmas with the Kranks. See the other states here.

Christmas Carols

Speaking of Christmas movies, perhaps no one says it better than Buddy from Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” There are hundreds of great holiday tunes that can instantly liven up any get together.

Holiday Church Services

Sunday service is great, but we love holiday church services because amidst all of the other bustling and traveling and tradition, we can remember the real reason for the season.

How does your family celebrate the holidays? Share your traditions in the comments!

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If Dr. Mary Frances Luckey looks familiar to you, it’s because you’ve probably seen her around in her navy polo teaching Tai Chi at The Chateau. As a resident of The Chateau, Dr. Luckey is very invested in her community, bringing Tai Chi to her fellow residents once a week.

Dr. Luckey was certified to teach Tai Chi in 2008; she found that it was helpful for both her body and soul, and she wanted to share the art with others. When she first introduced Tai Chi to The Chateau community, she laughed when a resident said to her, “I didn’t come to The Chateau to go to school!” but Dr. Luckey is dedicated to making her class as involved as it can be. After months of going through the motions with her, her students are each talented enough to probably teach, according to Dr. Luckey. She admits that to be involved in Tai Chi at The Chateau is a tremendous investment of time, but assures everyone that it’s very worth it to keep your mind, body, and soul happy and healthy.

Besides Tai Chi, Dr. Luckey loves being a part of book club, taking care of her irises, and acting as a caregiver to her late mother’s best friend. But the thing she loves doing most of all is playing Bridge. Her mother and all her friends had been playing every Tuesday since the 50s, but “I never learned to play!” she laughed. When her mother arrived at The Chateau, a few years before Dr. Luckey, she knew no one. Starting from the ground up, she used Bridge as a way to get into the community. And Dr. Luckey followed in her footsteps. Dr. Luckey plays Bridge with a regular group weekly, and once a month she plays Duplicate Bridge, which is much more serious. “There is no talking during the hand,” she emphasized. “But we spend the whole day playing and we talk in between hands and at lunch,” she smiled.

Dr. Luckey’s favorite thing about The Chateau is being surrounded by friends. She says, gesturing to the lobby, “Oh, I’m down here all the time, talking to people.” The Chateau gave her the safety and the security she needed, as well as the opportunity to socialize. Because of her arthritis, getting around to places and going to events was more difficult when she was alone. But she credits the community to greater health all around. “Something binds us together but I don’t know what that something is,” she said. “We never have to miss out, even if we’ve been gone. We all give each other a lot more energy!”

Dr. Mary Frances Luckey has been a resident of The Chateau for 8 years.

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