Safe ways to enjoy summertime fun while staying healthy and cool.
Summertime means making time for relaxation and outdoor fun! Whether your favorite sunny-day activity is swimming, gardening, traveling, hitting the links for a round of golf, playing with your grandkids, or something else, use these summer safety tips for seniors to stay healthy and cool:
- Keep hydrated
- Wear sunscreen
- Protect your face and eyes
- Plan activities in mornings and evenings
- Stay indoors on sweltering days
- Be alert for symptoms of heat-related illness
- Keep bug spray handy
- Ask your doctor if your medications have special heat-care instructions
- Keep assistive listening devices away from moisture and humidity
Continue reading for more on these senior safety tips for enjoying a carefree summer.
1. Keep hydrated
Dehydration can set in quickly in the hot summer months, so when you’re out and about, consider carrying a reusable water bottle with you. Aim to take slow drinks consistently instead of waiting until you’re parched. You can also enjoy hydrating foods to quench your thirst, like watermelon and grapefruit, especially after exercise.
Check out this list of 15 foods that can help you stay hydrated.
2. Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen protects skin by blocking the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. However, note that there are two types of UV rays (UVA and UVB) and some sunscreens only protect against one. When purchasing sunscreen, seek a broad-spectrum product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Experts recommend that seniors choose 30-50 SPF to stave off sun damage. Re-apply it minimally every 2-4 hours as needed and more frequently if you are in the water or perspiring more.
3.Protect your face and eyes
Sunglasses can protect the eyes from UV damage that can cause cataracts and cancerous growths. You can order prescription sunglasses from your eye doctor or purchase a standard fashion pair, but either way, make sure they’re 99-100% UV-absorbent. Wide-brimmed hats also provide an extra level of sun protection as they shade the face and neck.
4. Plan activities in mornings and evenings
The sun is at peak strength between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. – which are also the peak hours for sunburn and heat risk. If possible, plan outdoor outings for mornings and evenings to enjoy the cooler temperatures while staying safe outdoors.
Planning to spend time outside this summer? Learn how to protect your hearing here.
5. Stay indoors on sweltering days
No matter what time of day it is, if the thermometer reads over 90 degrees in most areas of the country, it’s better to take the party indoors. But this safety tip for seniors doesn’t require you to stay home! Movie theaters, malls, restaurants, and other indoor gathering places provide a fun atmosphere and activities that you can enjoy with other seniors or family and friends in the comfort of cool air conditioning.
6. Be alert for symptoms of heat-related illness
If circumstances dictate that you must be outdoors on a hot day, listen to your body. Review the CDC guide for signs of heat-related illness, like nausea, dizziness, headache, and fainting, so you know if it’s getting too intense. You can also find directions on care and when to seek medical attention.
7. Keep bug spray handy
Heat isn’t the only danger to watch out for when you’re enjoying the outdoors in the summer. Next up in our senior safety tips: keeping those pesky bugs away! Use bug spray with DEET on exposed skin and clothing to help ward off mosquitos and ticks. If you know you’ll be in a particularly buggy area, such as the woods or near water, consider wearing protective clothing like long pants, long sleeves, along with shoes and socks to cover as much exposed skin as possible.
8. Ask your doctor if your medications have special heat-care instructions
Certain medications are susceptible to degrading in the heat, so ask your doctor about ideal storage conditions and packing instructions if you plan to travel. Some medicines specify refrigeration, but generally, most should be stored in cool, dry places away from light. If you carry medications with you, like insulin, an inhaler, or an EpiPen®, avoid leaving them in your hot car during the summer.
9. Keep assistive listening devices away from moisture and humidity
Lastly, if you use an assistive listening device, like a hearing aid, be aware that these require a little extra care in summer too. Moisture and humidity can compromise the electronic components or kill batteries. Be gentle with your devices and keep them dry. Bring a tight-sealing container for storage if you’re going to a pool or other body of water, traveling somewhere humid, or anticipating rainy weather.
With these senior safety tips, you’re ready to embrace all the fun times summer has to offer. In addition to these ideas, ask your doctor about any additional other summer tips to keep in mind for a healthy and cool rest of the season. For more articles on senior living and independence, visit our blog here.
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