10 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
Summer is an exciting time of year when it's finally possible to get outside and be active. Many seniors love to spend time out in the sunshine, but some seniors have a higher sensitivity to heat. In that case, a few extra precautions need to be taken to ensure their health and safety. Stick to these ten summer safety tips for seniors, and you and your loved ones will be able to get the most out of the summer season (and the sun!)
1. Check the forecast before you go out.
It's essential to be aware of the weather before you make plans outside. Checking the weather makes it possible for your loved one to dress appropriately and participate in appropriate activities. You don't want to get stuck out on a hike on a blistering 95-degree day with humidity when temperatures reach their peak in the afternoon. During late summer when the heat becomes extreme, try to avoid making plans outdoors if you won't be able to go indoors and cool down if it becomes too hot.
2. Keep water, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses handy.
The last thing you want is to deal with heat-related illness or dehydration, so keep shady items and water easily accessible at all times. If you carry a purse, throw a bottle of water in before you head out and keep your sunscreen in there at all times. You can also keep things like hats and sunglasses in your car. All of these items can be left in your vehicle or other handy places to make sure you always have what you need.
3. Double check your prescriptions
Some prescription medications can make people more sensitive to the sun, so it's a good idea to talk to your doctor to rule out any complications. Most of the time, you won't have to avoid summer weather altogether, though you'll have to take extra precautions to stay hydrated and cool to avoid problems.
4. Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes.
One of the leading causes of falls in seniors is tripping over improper footwear. Wearing shoes that are tight on the feet and secured in place makes it much less likely for you to take a fall while participating in summer activities.
5. Carry a personal emergency response device
Personal emergency response systems, also known as PERS devices or Medical Alert Systems, are a great way to give you a lifeline to help in the event of an accident or emergency. PERS devices are small and lightweight, and usually worn around the neck, belt, or in a pocket. Their simple one-button design makes it possible for anyone to use them in an emergency, even with limited mobility. LogicMark's Notifi911+ works anywhere you can pick up cell service and makes an excellent option for seniors on-the-go this summer.
6. Stay hydrated
An issue many seniors face is the changes their bodies face. Most seniors are naturally less-aware of their thirst. Dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses, so it's crucial to continually sip water proactively, even if you don't feel thirsty. On average, humans need 6-8 cups per day. If you're spending time in the sun, you should shoot for 10-12 cups per day. It's a good idea to invest in a water bottle that is large enough to take with you on the go. Look for containers that measure out ounces or cups so you can keep track of your intake.
7. Know the signs of heat-related illnesses.
Dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat syncope are all examples of heat-related illnesses. Be sure to refresh yourself on the signs and symptoms of these illnesses so you can spot the signs and move to somewhere cooler before you get sick. If you think you're experiencing symptoms, be sure to speak up, sip water, and get out of the sun. Nobody wants to take a trip t the emergency room!
8. Take breaks and don't stay out too long.
It gets hot out there in the summer. It's a good idea to keep your outdoor plans on sweltering days to a few hours at a time. You can't always tell how the sun will affect you while standing in it, so be sure to head inside for breaks frequently and hydrate to prevent heat-related illnesses.
9. Maintain communication with your caretakers.
It's essential to keep your loved ones in the loop. In case of an emergency, it's crucial that you update your caretakers on your plans. Be sure to keep your phone handy and call to let them know what activity you'll be doing and how long you expect to be outside. Call them again when you're done to let them know when you're all finished and home safe. The last thing you want is to get stuck while gardening or injured while exercising without telling anyone and risking getting stranded outside in the sun.
10. Retreat to air conditioning whenever possible.
Heat can cause a ton of complications for seniors, so if you have AC in your home, be sure to start running it. If you don't have central air conditioning in your home, you can buy portable air conditioners. Window and door mounted air conditioners can also cool rooms to help beat the heat. If the cost is a bugger, financial assistance is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. If buying an air conditioner is out of the question, move to air conditioning whenever you can. A trip to the library, shopping mall, or grocery store can offer some asylum at the hottest part of the day.