Summer can be an exciting time of the year for our senior family members. Between family outings, barbeques, gardening, and vacations; most seniors are more active in the summer than in any other months. But it is important that your loved ones are kept comfortable and safe in the Summer heat. In a study from the University of Chicago Medical Center, researchers found that over 40% of all heat related fatalities in the U.S. were of people above the age of 65. Help your loved one follow these safety tips so that they can better enjoy the Summer.
Drinking enough water is crucial to everyone in the summer, but especially senior citizens. As you age, the feeling of being thirsty can dull, so many elderly people don’t even realize when they are not properly hydrated. Seniors also have a harder time conserving water, so they lose the water they drink much more quickly. Seniors should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or even more if they are in the heat for long periods of time. Caffeinated or alcoholic beverages should be avoided, as they can dehydrate further.
Seniors should dress more comfortably in the Summer, to help prevent overheating. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing is preferable. Wide-brimmed hats can reduce sun exposure to the face, neck, and ears.Sunglasses can help preserve vision that might become weakened by sun exposure. You should have them bring a jacket with them as well, if they are prone to getting cold in air conditioned environments.
Sunscreen & Bug Spray
Sunscreen is important for everyone in the sun, but it can be especially crucial for seniors. As you age, your skin becomes more easily damaged by the sun. Look for sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, and that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied before going outside. Reapply sunscreen frequently if they are going in the pool, or swimming at the beach.
Bug spray can help prevent irritating bug bites, and reduce the likelihood that they could contract a virus or disease from them. The elderly are more susceptible to developing West Nile Virus (mosquitoes) or lyme disease (ticks). Be sure to protect your loved one from these, with bug spray. Mosquitoes can be very active at night, so be sure to use bug spray throughout the day when outside. Reapply after water activities.
Avoid Peak Sun Hours
The sun is at its highest, and strongest, between 10 AM and 2 PM. Try to plan outdoor activities to be earlier in the mornings, or in the late afternoon, to avoid the hottest and brightest hours of the day. If your loved one will have to be outside during the peak hours, try to keep them hydrated, and under shade whenever possible.
Watch for Heat Stroke
Heat Stroke can be deadly, especially for the elderly. Be on the lookout for symptoms of heat stroke, such as dizziness, headaches, confusion, nausea, and high body temperature. Seek medical attention for your loved one if you notice these signs.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact Safe Harbor at (718)-979-6900.