5 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
June 12, 2018
Summer heat can present health risks for older adults. Follow these 5 summer safety tips to keep an older adult in your family safe.
As we prepare to welcome the first day of summer on June 21st, we want to take time to share a few safety tips. While most of us enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer months, it’s important to remember that the heat and humidity commonly found in the south can be especially dangerous for older adults.
Here are a few tips caregivers can use to keep seniors in the family safe.
5 Ways to Help a Senior Loved One Stay Safe This Summer
- Know the risks of heat and humidity
Each year extreme heat causes an estimated 658 deaths. Older adults are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses because our bodies lose some of their ability to process extreme temperatures as we age. Certain medications and health conditions—such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma—may also worsen during the heat of the summer.Talk with your senior loved one’s physician for advice about managing a chronic health condition during the summer months. Also be sure to review the older adult’s medication list to see if any are impacted by heat or humidity.
- Take sun safety precautions
This generation of older adults didn’t grow up wearing sunscreen. As a result, they don’t always follow good sun safety practices. Encourage your senior loved one to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 any time they are outdoors or riding in a car. This helps to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants in a lightweight, breathable fabric can also help block the sun, as can a hat and sunglasses.
- Stay out of the mid-day sun
The sun is strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. Remind the older adults in your life to plan errands, appointments, and outdoor activities around these peak sun times.Also make sure your senior loved one has a safe, cool place to get out of the summer heat. If their home isn’t air conditioned, create a list of local malls, senior centers, coffee shops, bookstores, and movie theaters they can visit that are.
- Encourage hydration
Drinking water is another step necessary to stay safe during the summer heat. Most health professionals recommend drinking eight glasses a day, more if an adult is sweating or swimming.Encourage your senior loved one to keep a supply of cold water in their refrigerator and a bottle of it by their side all day.
- Watch for symptoms of a heat-related illness
Make sure you and other loved ones know the early warning signs of a heat-related illness A few of the most common ones include confusion, pale skin, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, dizziness, fatigue, headache, rapid pulse, and diarrhea. Seek medical help immediately if you or a senior in your life exhibit these symptoms.
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