Summer is the best time of year for getting outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and participating in fun activities. After a long winter, many of us want to throw open the windows and let the warmth and sunshine in, or just get outside. That’s wonderful, but older adults need to be careful when taking advantage of the hot, humid days of summer. We have put together a list of 6 summer safety tips for seniors to make summer as enjoyable as it can be!
At Baldwin House Senior Living in Michigan, we want to ensure you’re safe when in the sunshine. We’ve put together summer safety tips to reduce the risk of any heat-related complications, whether you’re inside or out. Staying hydrated and not staying in direct sunlight for too many hours are the two easiest steps older adults can take to safely enjoy the season.
- Hydration matters. As we get older, our bodies change, and we lose our sense of thirst and the urge to drink water. This means we need to drink water and stay hydrated even if we don’t feel thirsty. It’s recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water a day (eight-ounce glasses). We know there are adult beverages that simply taste better in the summer but remember that alcohol causes dehydration; that means drinking water is crucial to good health, but it doesn’t mean you can’t drink in moderation!
- Clothing matters. Cotton and linen are the most breathable fabrics you can wear and it’s the best material for summer outerwear. It might sound odd, but if you’re going to be out in the sun, without the benefit of shady areas, wear long sleeves. Don a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and keep the back of your neck covered to protect your skin from getting sunburned.
- Wear sunscreen. In addition to drinking plenty of water and wearing proper clothing, slather on sunscreen. Look for a high SPF protection level and put it on all your exposed skin – your nose, neck, hands, feet, etc. Re-apply sunscreen every couple of hours and immediately after you get out of a swimming pool.
- Enjoy being outdoors when the sun isn’t at its peak. Usually, noontime is when the sun is at its highest and hottest levels, but peak hours range from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If possible, plan activities before or after those hours or prepare to take shelter in a shaded area.
- Check your medication and its warnings. Some medications increase the risk of dehydration and others make skin more sensitive to the sun. If you’re not sure whether your medications lead to these increased risks in the sunshine, ask your doctor.
- Stay safe indoors, too. If you don’t have air conditioning, make sure you have fans to help with cross breezes. Check the indoor air temperatures because as we age, we have less sensitivity to temperature fluctuations and indoor air temperatures can soar to dangerous levels. Turn on the air or open windows and run fans to help keep you cool and safe.
We can all agree there is nothing better than an adventure or outdoor activity on a summer day, but make sure you do it safely. We don’t want to alarm anyone, but a study conducted by Duke University found “more than 80% of heat-related deaths occurred in people over the age of sixty.”
Enjoy summer safely! Consider this added layer of protection: let your friends and family members know you’re going to be outdoors and have them check in to ensure you’re safe while you’re out-of-doors.
When we plan outdoor activities at a Baldwin House Senior Living community, we always have the safety of our residents in mind.
Visit a Baldwin House Senior Living community near you and ask what activities we have planned for our residents as we welcome summer together. Baldwin House Senior Living, brought to you by the same people who founded American House Senior Living communities in 1979, is built upon the strong foundation of guiding families and empowering seniors. Baldwin House combines care with compassion and dignity.
We offer families peace of mind and give seniors who call Baldwin House home the freedom to live their very best lives. Call us today to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you or your loved one!