Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
Summer means better weather and more opportunities to play outside, no matter your age. Not only that, but extended daylight hours means more time for fun after months of short winter days.
Getting active and making the most of what summertime has to offer is great, but some seniors may be more heat sensitive. Or, they may need to take a little extra care during their time outdoors.
To keep you safe, healthy, and protected, here are some tips for summer safety for seniors that will ensure you get the most out of the season.
Without a doubt, falls are the surest way to put a damper on summer activities. Not only can it affect your mobility, but it can open the door for future complications if its an especially bad fall.
A big part of summer safety for seniors is learning how to avoid falls while you are out and about. So, consider taking these precautionary measures.
- Avoid wearing flip-flops and sandals.
- Be aware of wet spots around pools, fountains, or water parks.
- Indoor pools, gyms, and bathrooms can also have hard-to-notice puddles as well.
- Keep your yard and driveway clear of fallen debris, especially after storms.
- When outside, keep your eye out for incline changes, holes, or other places where you can easily trip.
- Consider using a walking stick or cane to make getting around less strenuous.
- Don’t go out if you feel tired or weak, and drink water to prevent dizziness and confusion caused by dehydration.
- Get enough sleep so you can stay aware of your surroundings and don’t start feeling weak or confused.
Summer safety for seniors also means improving your balance and overall fitness. Some days may be too hot to get your workout in, but there are plenty of indoor exercises for seniors to do at home.
Drink Plenty of Water
The rule of thumb is to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. However, during the summer, you should try and double that since you most likely sweat more and engage in more physical activity than other times of the year.
Your body uses more energy when it is hot outside, so you need to give your body what it needs to continue to function at 100%.
Educate yourself about the importance of hydration and its value to summer safety for seniors. It’ll help to keep you hydrated all day long:
- Buy a reusable water bottle. It’s more environmentally friendly than continuously purchasing bottled water and will keep your drink colder for longer if you buy a double-walled or insulated container.
- Make a big batch of flavored water to keep in your fridge. Cucumber water hits the spot during the summer, and the cucumbers have the added advantage of hydrating you even more. They can lead to smoother, brighter, and healthier skin.
- Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverage that cause frequent trips to the bathroom. While coffee or tea won’t necessarily dehydrate you, excessive urination will.
- Sports drinks are good for electrolytes, but the sugar negates the benefits of drinking them. It’s best to stick with water.
Protect Your Skin
Another name for sunburn is radiation burn, and you should treat it as such. Sun protection is perhaps the most important aspects of summer safety for seniors because seniors are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays.
- Wear plenty of facial moisturizer with a high SPF.
- Wear sunblock on any skin that will be or has the potential to face exposure. Apply 30 minutes before leaving the house and periodically as you can.
- Stay in shaded areas as much as possible. Not only will it protect your skin better, but it will also help prevent overheating.
- Some medications cause sun sensitivity as a side effect, which can lead the skin to become easily burned. If you are taking a prescription, double-check the side effects to see how it will make your skin interact with the sun.
Learn the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
Symptoms of common heat-related illnesses aren’t just an essential part of summer safety for seniors. Recognizing the signs and knowing what to do if it happens can prove invaluable in case of an emergency.
Learn the signs of dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion, so you know what to look for and what to do in case the worst happens.
- Intense thirst
- Dry mouth
- Feeling tired or lethargic
- Decreased and yellow urine
- Dry skin
- Inability to shed tears
- A drop in blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of elasticity in the skin
Dehydration, while dangerous, is relatively simple to treat as the focus is on replenishing your fluid intake. So drink lots of water, clear broths, ice cubes, or sports drinks.
For more severe cases, intravenous fluids may be necessary. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, juice, and other beverages that can lead to further dehydration.
- Pulsing headache
- Dizziness and lightheartedness
- Lack of sweating
- Skin appears red and feels hot and dry to the touch
- Muscle weakness and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fluttering heartbeat (can feel sharp or weak)
- Breathing becomes shallow and quick
- Changes in behavior including confusion, disorientation, or staggering
If these signs appear, immediately get a temperature reading. If the thermometer reads 104°F or higher, call 911 and get medical help right away.
Heatstroke is treated using several steps that involve getting the temperature down quickly but safely.
The doctor will either give you an ice bath, use evaporation cooling techniques, wrap your body in a cooling blanket, and use ice packs on your groin, neck, back, and armpits. He may also give you muscle relaxers to stop any shivering that may interfere with treatment.
There are two types of heat exhaustion. The first is from a lack of water. These symptoms include insatiable thirst, weakness, headaches, or fainting.
The second type of heat exhaustion is salt depletion, which causes nausea, vomiting, cramping muscles, and dizziness.
Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke if not correctly treated. Here’s what to look for if you suspect you or someone you know has heat exhaustion:
- Yellow or dark-colored urine
- Muscle cramps, specifically in the abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Pale skin
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid or fluttering heartbeat
Treatment for heat exhaustion is simple. Make sure to drink plenty of water or sports drinks to replenish salts. Remove any clothing that isn’t needed at the moment or clings to the body. If possible, take a cold shower or bath. Lastly, use fans, ice, or cold towels to bring the body’s temperature back to normal.
MeetCaregivers + You
Sometimes summer safety for seniors means an extra pair of eyes and a helping hand around the house. When that happens, MeetCaregivers is there.
We provide qualified professionals to assist with whatever needs you may have.
So contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-541-1136.
Additionally, read our post about hiring through MeetCaregivers and reach out if you are interested in learning more about our services.
We update our blog every Monday, so check in regularly to find new and helpful information about senior care.