Senior Summer Safety Tips
Summertime is a season of fun, vacation and relaxation for most. However, for seniors, the heat and sun can be dangerous. Here are some precautions that aging adults, and their caregivers, can use to keep seniors safe in the summer.
Stay Hydrated & Keep Cool
Seniors are susceptible to dehydration because they lose their ability to conserve water as they age and become less aware of their thirst. Older adults may also have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Drink water often, and caregivers should make sure seniors are drinking products (that contain salt and potassium) to replace water they lose in the heat.
Increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who deal with chronic conditions. Malls, movie theaters and libraries provide cool spaces for seniors without air-condition. They offer an opportunity to get out of the home and exercise without the exhaustion of summer heat.
The Buddy System
Seniors should let friends and family know if they’ll be outside for any length of time. Caregivers should check in with seniors at least twice a day. Know your neighbors and check on each other to ensure that everyone is staying safe and cool. Additionally, you should keep emergency numbers by the phone or program them into your cell phone for quick access.
Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothes that provide good ventilation and help you stay cool and comfortable. Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. You should also use sunscreen whenever you are going to be out in the sun. Also, wearing a hat protects your face from the sun and keeps you cooler.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Make sure to know the warning signs and get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms:
- Body temperature greater than 104 degrees
- A change in behavior: 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
If you or anyone you know start to feel any of these symptoms, ask for medical help and get out of the heat, lie down and place ice packs on your body.