Spring and summer are seasons many people enjoy spending outdoors. Picnics, swimming, and family reunions are popular warm-weather activities. If you are an older adult, it’s essential to learn how to stay safe from heat-related illnesses. Seniors are more sensitive to heat and the health issues a hot, humid day can cause.
Sometimes a chronic health condition, such as heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), puts the senior at increased risk for dehydration or a heat stroke. Other times sun sensitivity is a medication side effect.
Aging causes another safety concern: fragile skin. As we grow older, our skin becomes thinner, making it more susceptible to sunburn and sun poisoning. It also takes less time for fragile skin to burn.
To help you stay safe while enjoying your spring and summer activities, we pulled together a few tips.
6 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
- Sunscreen: Frequent application of a quality sunscreen is the best way to protect fragile skin from sunburn and sun poisoning. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 every two to four hours while you are outdoors and encourage senior loved ones to do the same.
- Footwear: Fragile skin impacts the tops and bottoms of the feet too. While sandals and flip-flops might be cooler and more attractive in warm weather, they don’t offer much protection. From cuts and sunburns to falls, you need footwear with better coverage and support.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They also play a key role in protecting eyes from the sun’s hot rays. Researchers say faithfully wearing a quality pair of sunglasses can help protect eyes from cancerous growths and cataracts, a condition that occurs more frequently with age. Make sure you and your senior loved one have sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays.
- Hat: The face and back of the neck are common places for skin cancer to develop. Wearing a hat with a brim that shields the face along with sunscreen doubles the protection.
- Bug spray: Insects are more than just pests when you are enjoying the great outdoors. Some are linked to serious health concerns, such as the West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Invest in a good bug spray and use it faithfully. Also check your clothes, hair, and body for signs of ticks when you come back inside.
- Hydration: Finally, stay hydrated. As we age, our bodies don’t adjust to changes in temperature and humidity as well as in younger days. This puts seniors at increased risk for dehydration. Medication side effects and health conditions like COPD and heart disease can make the problem worse. Drink water continuously when you are outside and consume foods with high water content. Popsicles, cucumber, salads, and berries are a few suggestions.
We hope these tips keep you and those closest to you safe this summer.
Tour a Heritage Community This Summer
If your summer plans include visiting senior living communities for a potential move, we hope you will keep Heritage Senior Communities in mind. With locations throughout Michigan and in Granger, Indiana, you are likely to find a community nearby! Contact us today to schedule a private tour.