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8 Summer Safety Tips For Seniors

Updated on July 6, 2015

Summer Risks Heat Up With Age

Did you know that the summer heat places seniors at risk for a variety of different adverse health conditions, including death? The reason for this is because the elderly have years of wear and tear on their bodies that have rendered each bodily system less effective at fighting off the possible destruction of intense summer heat.

Whether it’s weathered skin due to years of sun exposure in the past or a weakened immune system after years of fighting off numerous illnesses and other maladies, most body systems in seniors are not as strong as they used to be.

But that doesn’t mean seniors can’t enjoy summer anymore like they used to—it only means they should incorporate specific summer safety tips into their summertime activity routine. Take a look below at 8 of the best summer safety tips available to seniors today:

Summer Safety Tips For Seniors

1. Drink fluids often: Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated? And for seniors, the feeling of thirst isn't as strong as people who are younger. Because of this, seniors should drink lots of water, especially during times of greater heat and more physical activity.

Try to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water each day, and avoid drinks that are alcoholic or decaffeinated-- which will actually make you even more dehydrated!

2. Wear the proper clothes: It’s warm and bright out, so remember to wear loose, lightweight, and, when applicable, light-colored long sleeves. Longer sleeves, despite retaining heat more than shorter sleeves, can help protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Also remember to wear wide-brimmed hats as often as you can when you step foot outdoors, and wear sunglasses for full eye protection. Perhaps invest in eyewear that’s made for blocking out sun rays, which can help reduce the impact of sun damage that can lead to cataracts while also improving your chances against age-related macular degeneration.

3. Utilize your air conditioning: Air conditioning is crucial to staying cool during the summer months. After all, if you don’t have A/C in your home, you’ll be more likely to suffer from a heat stroke or heat exhaustion. If you don’t have A/C in your home, remember to spend some of your day at public places with air conditioning, or even your friends’ homes which are kept cool with A/C.

4. Be inside during specific hours: The sun is at its brightest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. With that in mind, try to keep your outside activity to a minimum during those times, and aim for going outside during other times when the sun isn’t so bright out.

Time You Spend Out In The Sun

In the summertime, how many hours do you spend outside during the day?

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5. Avoid triggers for heat stroke and heat exhaustion: If you’re a senior who’s been out in the sun and you’re starting to feel confused, extremely fatigued, or nauseated, then it’s time you asked for help into a cooler setting immediately. Other signs to watch out for include headaches, dry skin, and a rapid pulse; if these symptoms persist, seek outside medical attention right away.

6. Check on your loved ones: Find time to be with your friends and family members during the summer, particularly seniors who you know often find themselves in places without A/C. Plan activities with them indoors that won’t make them feel like they’re having their independence questioned, but rather that you simply want the best for them (which you do).

Signs Of Summer Trouble

 
 
 
Health Concern
Symptoms
Treatments
Dehydration
increased thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion
fluid replacement
Heat Exhaustion
confusion, dark-colored urine, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headaches, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
fluid replacement, removal of tight clothing, taking a cool shower
Heat Stroke
high body temperature, altered mental state, change in sweating, flushed skin, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, quickened heart rate, headaches
seek immediate medical attention

7. Consider your medications: Because seniors often use medications on a daily basis, they need to be aware that some of the things they take can have harmful side effects when paired with an increase in sunlight. Review your medications with a trusted medical professional before summer starts for the safest summer possible.

8. Wear sunscreen: If you don’t want to risk painful and potentially killer sunburns, then lather up in sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t just put it on last minute: remember to apply it between 15-30 minutes before you’re under the sun. If you’re going to be in the water, re-apply sunscreen often.

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