The long days and warm weather of summer are the perfect time for seniors to get out and stay active. However, without the right precautions, the fun days of summer can potentially be dangerous to your health. Heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, dehydration and heat cramps are much more common in seniors during the warm summer months. This is why it’s important to take a few extra precautions before you head out to enjoy some fun in the sun this season.
Enjoy Optimal Senior Wellness this Summer
Here are a few simple summer safety tips to help you stay safe no matter how high the temperatures rise:
- Stay hydrated. Our ability to conserve water decreases as we age, making older adults more susceptible to dehydration than other age groups. That’s why it’s important to continuously hydrate throughout the day, especially if you’re outside for extended periods of time. A good rule of thumb: consume eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
- Know the signs of dehydration. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous. Make sure you know the earliest warning signs, including fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, dry mouth and trouble walking. If you see these signs in yourself or a loved one, be sure to seek medical attention.
- Avoid overheating. It’s important to take time throughout the day to stay cool, especially when the UV and heat indexes are high. If you’re going to be outside for a large portion of the day, but sure to seek shade and take breaks inside an air-conditioned space when you can.
- Dress in loose, light clothing. Natural fabrics, such as cotton, can help you stay cooler as the temperatures rise. Avoid synthetic fabrics, dark colors and tight-fitting clothing during the summer, opting instead for light colors and looser items that allow air to circulate.
- Don’t forget about your eyes. UV rays can also be harmful to your eyes. Always wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors to avoid irritation and possible damage. Also, make sure sunglasses lenses indicate they block 100 percent of UV rays.
- Always wear sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen is important at any age. Look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UBA rays, and has an SPF of 30 or 50. To be the most effective, apply frequently throughout the day.
Summer is a fun time to be outdoors, and enjoy family and friends. But when you’re having fun, make sure you’re aware of any sudden changes in how your body feels. Throbbing headaches, paleness, dizziness, fainting and high body temperature can signal heat stroke—a dangerous and potentially deadly heat related illness. Additionally, be on the lookout for muscle spasms and contractions, also known as heat cramps, which can be brought on by a loss of electrolytes. And be sure to seek medical attention if you witness these symptoms in yourself or a loved one.
Stay Healthy & Active at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities
At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, seniors can stay active, healthy and safe no matter the season. Our range of social activities, amenities and wellness programs for residents, as well as Neighborhood Program Member, are facilitated daily by senior health experts. Contact Episcopal SeniorLife Communities for more information about our living options and services designed specifically for the unique needs of seniors.