Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

As the weather heats up it can be nice to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. There are plenty of summer activities to stay active such as walking, swimming, gardening, or golf. However, seniors should be cautious when spending too much time in the heat as it can take a toll on their body. Taking some precautions to stay safe and protect their health can go a long way.

  • Stay hydrated: Make sure to drink plenty of fluids but try to avoid caffeinated beverages which can increase dehydration. While water is recommended, also incorporate fruit juices or sports drinks to replenish sodium, potassium, and electrolytes which may be lost through sweat. Continue to drink even if you’re not feeling particularly thirsty, especially if spending longer periods of time outdoors.
  • Check the air conditioning: Have someone come out and inspect your air conditioning to make sure it is working properly. If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans to circulate cooler air throughout the room. Also consider spending time at a public facility or friend’s house where there is air conditioning to stay cool and comfortable.
  • Cover up: Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Rather than wearing synthetic fibers, put on light-colored cotton clothing that is loose and allows the skin to breathe while still protecting it from the sun. If you are alternating between indoors and outdoors, wear layers to help your body better adjust to temperature changes.
  • Check in with someone: If you are planning on being outside, whether in the garden, taking a walk in the park, or enjoying an event, let someone know where you will be so they can check in. Family and friends should make it a point to check in more often when the temperatures rise to ensure loved ones are staying safe.
  • Recognize heat stroke symptoms: Heat stroke can be very serious, so be aware of symptoms such as headache, lethargy, confusion, nausea, dry skin, and elevated heart rate. If you do experience any of these symptoms, seek medical treatment and get to a cool place out of the sun. Try to avoid being outside during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are outside, make sure to find a place to cool down and limit strenuous activity.

It is also a good idea to check with your doctor about any medications you are on and how they may affect your sensitivity to heat or contribute to dehydration. You can still enjoy being outdoors as long as you are proactive in staying safe. An in-home care provider can also provide an extra level of protection by ensuring seniors’ homes are cool, they remember to keep hydrated, have companionship while out and about, and take steps to reduce risk of heat stroke. For more information about how your loved one can benefit from senior care services not just in the summer but all year round, contact Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville at (828) 989-7263 or visit us online.

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