June 1, 2017

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

The summertime means enjoying the outdoors, fun and relaxation for most people. However, for seniors the sun and heat can bring on dangers like sunburn, eye damage and dehydration. Here are some tips for caring for your elderly loved one in the summer months.

  1. Hydrate
    Make sure your loved one stays hydrated by drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. By the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Seniors also become less aware of their thirst and have trouble adjusting to temperature changes. Be sure your loved one is increasing their water intake if doing any prolonged physical activity.
  2. Wear Proper Clothing
    Dress your loved one for the weather, in the summer time that should include light-colored, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Some additional things to consider: wear long sleeves to protect the skin from the sun and wear brimmed hats to keep the sun off the face and neck. Too much sun exposure on the eyes can cause damage, be sure your loved one is wearing full coverage sunglasses that block the UVA and UVB rays.
  3. Stay Cool
    Even small temperature increases can affect your loved one if they are dealing with a chronic medical condition. Keep the air conditioner on during those hot and humid days, or go somewhere with AC if you don’t have any. Go see a movie, visit the senior center or go shopping in air conditioned locations to stay cool. The sun is strongest between 10am and 4pm, so have your loved one avoid outdoor activities during those times.
  4. Watch for Heat Stroke
    Keep an eye on y our loved one for signs of heat stroke. Some signs to look for include: dry skin, confusion, disorientation, nausea, headache, fainting, rapid pulse and excessive tiredness. If your loved one is experiencing these symptoms get medical help immediately.
  5. Review Medications
    Some medications can cause side effects in the summer months like increased sensitivity to UV rays. Other medications are less effective when stored at high temperatures. Check with the doctor to see what side effects your loved ones medications have.
  6. Wear Sunscreen
    Everyone, especially the elderly should wear sunscreen when outside. Help your loved one or remind them about applying sunscreen frequently. Look for a UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more.
  7. Wear Bug Spray
    The elderly are especially prone to mosquito borne illnesses like West Nile. If your loved one spends a lot of time outdoors, particularly at night, use a mosquito repellent to help reduce the risk of getting bit.
  8. Know Who to Call
    Have a list of emergency phone numbers prepared in an easy to access location. This way, if any issue arises the right people can be called quickly.

Most importantly be sure someone is checking in on your loved one consistently in the summertime. Communication is key to ensuring your loved ones safety.

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