Summer Safety Tips to Keep Seniors Cool
Summer is the season for backyard barbecues, picnics, family reunions and lots of other great outdoor activities, but the summer sun can also bring dangers, such as sunstroke and dehydration. As temperatures rise, it’s important for seniors to take extra precautions to stay healthy and happy. Check out our top four summer safety tips to help seniors in your life continue to enjoy the summer fun.
Drink plenty of water
As we age, our thirst sensors become less sensitive, which can be especially dangerous in high heat when we sweat more. Seniors should pay close attention to water intake to avoid dehydration. Dr. William Greenough, of Johns Hopkins Geriatric Center, says that caregivers should make sure seniors are drinking sweat replacement products (that contain salt and potassium) to replace water they lose during the summer.
The summer sun can be especially damaging to senior skin. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in direct sunlight, be sure to dress appropriately — light weight clothing that covers arms and legs, a wide brim hat to protect the head and keep the sun off the neck. And be sure to apply sunscreen — SPF 30 or higher — at least 30 minutes before going outside. It’s also important to wear UV protection sunglasses to guard your eyes against harsh sunlight.
Avoid the heat of the day
Avoid spending too much time when the sun is at its highest in the sky. Instead, take your walk in the evening after the sun has started to set. Choose early morning to do yard work or tend to your garden.
Know the symptoms of hyperthermia or “heatstroke” and seek immediate medical attention
• Body temperature greater than 104 degrees
• A change in behavior, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy
• Dry, flushed skin
• Nausea and vomiting
• Heavy breathing or a rapid pulse
• Not sweating, even if it’s hot out
The CDC has a great Caretaker Checklist we encourage everyone to read over before summer outings: Caretaker Checklist