Keeping Seniors Safe This Summer
By AmeriCare, July 27, 2012
We are currently experiencing the hottest year in recorded history, with temperatures soaring to sustained highs this summer. It’s enough to make one want to stay inside all day with the air conditioning on overdrive. Not only is the weather uncomfortable, this type of extreme heat also creates several risk factors, especially for seniors, including sunburn, eye damage, dehydration, heat exhaustion and more. So, it’s essential for seniors to practice these important senior care safety tips when spending time in the hot summer sun.
- Stay hydrated: Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. For seniors, the sense of thirst decreases as we age, so be sure to increase your water intake if you are exercising or doing any type of prolonged physical activity. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated sodas, as they will only further your dehydration.
- Dress appropriately: Extreme heat requires a certain type of attire. Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored long sleeves to help protect your skin from sun, while also allowing your skin to breathe. Use wide brimmed hats to shade your face and neck, as well as wrap around sunglasses for supreme eye protection. Lenses that block UVA and UVB rays can help reduce the cumulative effect of damage linked to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Enjoy off-peak hours: The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must be outside during a summer heat wave, limit your outdoor activity to the morning and the evening, when the temperature is lower and the sun is less intense.
- Monitor for heat stroke: It is extremely important to watch for signs of heat stroke, especially for seniors. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea, and a rapid pulse. If you, or someone you know, experiences these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
- Review your medications: Some medications that many seniors use on a daily basis can have side effects when combined with the sun, like increased sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Review all medications for such warnings and check with a doctor or pharmacist with any questions.
- Wear sunscreen: Look for a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and also has a SPF of 15 or more. Be sure to apply it about 15-30 minutes before exposure. If you’re enjoying water activities, reapply your sunscreen frequently.
It only takes about 15 minutes for the sun to damage unprotected skin. You won’t notice it until the damage is already done. If you’re worried about a loved one’s ability to safely care for themselves this summer, please give us a call. Our caregivers are specially trained to provide exceptional senior care and in-home care services, ensuring that our clients enjoy the benefits of being outside while protecting them from the harmful affects of the intense heat and sun.
Tags: AmeriCare, home care, senior care
Posted in: AmeriCare, home care, senior care