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Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

How to Stay Safe During Hot Weather

Now that summer is in full swing; we can enjoy all that the warm weather brings. However, for seniors, hotter temperatures can be potentially dangerous. The good news is that there are precautions that seniors can take for a fun, healthy, and safe summer. Here are some tips.

Remember to Hydrate

As we age, we lose the ability to conserve water, leaving, seniors more prone to dehydration. Prevent dehydration by drinking water regularly throughout the day. You can also add some hydrating fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. Try the following foods that are high in water content:

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumbers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Zucchini

If you don’t like plain water, add a slice of lemon or orange to give your H20 a flavor boost!

Check Your Medication

Certain medications could be affected by higher temperatures and could be less effective if not stored properly. Check with your doctor to ensure that any prescriptions or over the counter medications that you are taking are not affected by high temperatures. If you don’t have air conditioning, it could be especially important to find out how to store your medications correctly.

Stay Cool

For seniors with chronic medical conditions, the hotter weather could be a problem and exacerbate their condition. If you have an air conditioner, keep your home at a comfortable temperature. However, for those who don’t have an air conditioner, here are some ways to keep your home cool and comfortable:

  • Close blinds to keep the heat out
  • Set ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Keep doors closed to unused rooms
  • Use fans with oscillators

Here’s a cooling hack you can try: Get a bowl, fill it with ice, and put it in front of a fan. When you turn on the fan, it will emit a gentle, chilly, misty breeze.

Get Help From Family and Friends

Letting your loved ones know what your plans are when it’s hot outside can help ensure you stay safe. If you will be spending the day out in your garden or doing yard work, enlist the help of a friend or family member, so you don’t overexert yourself during the warm weather. If temperatures outside are scorching, then it’s best to leave the outdoor chores for cooler times of days, such as late afternoon or early morning.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Making friends with the people in your neighborhood can help you stay safe should an emergency arise. Since they live nearby, you’ll be able to get help sooner rather than later if you need immediate assistance. Not only will you feel safer, but you’ll create lasting friendships too!

Keep A Call List Handy

Having the phone numbers of your friends, family, and neighbors handy can ensure you get the help you need. For example, if you don’t have a way to get to a doctor’s appointment or need help with grocery shopping, knowing you have a few people on the list that can help with these errands can make you feel more at ease.

Should you have a dire emergency, it’s imperative that you call 911 first and then alert any family members that need to know about your situation.

Dress for the Weather

When it’s hot outside, having the right clothing can help you feel comfortable and cool. Avoid clothing made with synthetic materials like polyester and opt for natural fabrics like cotton instead. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothes are the best options for keeping the body cool.

Keep Your Eyes Protected

Not only are UV Rays damaging to your skin, but it can also cause eye damage. Wear sunglasses that have UVA and UVB protection. By keeping your eyes protected, you can reduce your risk of developing cataracts, vision loss, and corneal sunburn.

Understand the Warning Signs of Heatstroke

Prolonged exposure or physical exertion in high temperatures can cause your body to overheat — this can lead to heatstroke. Knowing the warning signs of heatstroke can help you get medical attention as soon as possible.

Here are some tell-tale signs of heatstroke:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Feeling confused or disoriented
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • High body temperature

If you have any of the above symptoms, contact 911 immediately for help.

Protect Your Skin From The Sun

If you are doing outdoor activities, you can stay protected by wearing sunscreen. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cooler, cloudy days. However, it is important to note that the higher the SPF, the greater the protection. For added protection, use a wide-brimmed hat, and cover up your arms and legs with light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. You can also limit your exposure by seeking shade or avoiding the sun during its strongest hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Exercise With Caution

The summer season is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities to keep you healthy and fit. Whether you like to walk or go for a bike ride, the following can ensure you stay safe during your fitness routine:

  • Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, and protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, or elbow pads.
  • Don’t skip the sunscreen
  • Exercise either early in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening when temperatures are cooler.

By following the above safety tips, you can ensure an enjoyable and safe summer!