Fresh air and sunshine is what summer is all about. It is a time for outside fun and relaxation. The sun helps ward off depression and sharpen cognition, and it’s a great way to get that important source of Vitamin D. We must also remember the damage that the sun’s harsh rays can have on our senior adults’ skin. We want to make sure our seniors know how to stay safe while getting the benefits of the wonderful summer weather, and taking the proper precautions is the best way to help prevent emergencies before they happen. We recently shared some great tips that aging adults, as well as their caregivers, could use to make sure they have a fun, safe summer and here a few more…
1. Wear Sunscreen and Protect Your Skin
Whenever you are going to be spending a long amount of time outside, make sure you wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Too much exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays can lead to an increase in wrinkles, dark spots, and can even cause skin cancer. Everyone, young and old, should wear sunscreen when outdoors. Seniors especially need the extra sun protection to help keep them healthy. Hats are also a great idea, especially for those with light-colored hair and those with only distant memories of a full head of hair. It might sound obvious, but in a rush it’s easy to forget sunblock.
2. Dress Weather-Appropriate
Whenever it’s hot and sunny outside, encourage your senior loved one to choose light colored, loose-fitting clothing that is made of breathable material like cotton. Keeping skin covered is best, with loose long sleeves and pants. Wear white or very light colors, because light colors repel sunshine, while darker colors will soak it up, heating your body. Wearing a large sunhat that is wide brimmed or baseball hat and sunglasses to help to protect your face and eyes.
3. Move Safely
It’s important to have a daily exercise routine in order to stay healthy. However, when we move around a lot in the heat and the humidity, our bodies tend to heat up much faster than they do in cooler conditions. If you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time doing any sort of outdoor activity in the summertime, such as gardening, walking, or swimming, you need to make sure you stay safe while doing it. Make sure you wear the proper clothing for the activity. Take several short breaks, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of healthy liquids. Track the time that you spend outside, and don’t stay out for extended periods. If at all possible, try to do outdoor activities in the early mornings or late evenings, when it is not as hot outside. Stay inside or in a shady, cool place during the hottest parts of the day.
4. Stay in Touch
Communication plays an important role in ensuring the safety of aging adults. If you’re going to be spending any amount of time outside alone, even if it’s just a short trip into your front yard to pick some tomatoes, take a cell phone with you and make sure that your family and friends know where you’re going to be and what you’re doing. Exposure to high temperatures can result in life-threatening conditions, like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. Get to know your neighbors and ask them to check on you throughout the day when it’s going to be especially hot and muggy out. The extra company and friendship that can result is a bonus! Also, keep a list of emergency contacts with their names and phone numbers in an obvious location, like on your fridge or beside your home phone. This way, the right people can be called to help quickly preventing any further issues or preventing medical problems from getting worse.