Summer Safety Guide for Seniors
Although summer days are fun with outdoor activities and pleasant weather, the rising temperatures can be harmful to older adults. We sense heat differently as we age, which is why heat intolerance is a concern for many seniors. The experts in our skilled nursing facility have put together this guide to help you understand how to take care of yourself during the summer.
Heat Intolerance in the Elderly
The changes in your body because of aging include the following:
- Brain signaling slows down
- Skin becomes thinner
- Fewer pores are available to produce sweat
- A lack of the natural insulating properties of muscle and fat to regulate body temperatures
- Not being able to sense temperature changes normally
The experts in senior rehabilitation facilities believe that all these physical changes increase the chances of heat-related conditions such as heatstroke in your senior years.
Why is Hot Weather Dangerous for Seniors?
It is important to be cautious as you age because memory ailments can often make it difficult for you to take precautions in hot weather. Also, heat intolerance may reduce your mobility. In addition to this, medications for specific chronic conditions can raise the chances of dehydration and affect your body temperature, increasing the risk of overheating.
What Temperatures are Dangerous for Seniors?
According to specialists in skilled nursing facilities, it helps to be aware of the heat index. This is because although the outside temperature may be around 85 degrees, you need to consider humidity as well and take precautions accordingly.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Seniors
Another common risk of summer heat for older adults is heat exhaustion, caused by exposure to high temperatures. Dizziness, hot and dry skin, headaches, nausea, and vomiting are symptoms of heat exhaustion. If you experience any of these, get professional help immediately. Take measures to keep your temperature regulated until help arrives. Fan yourself, place a cool washcloth on your pulse points, and move to an air-conditioned room.
Safety Tips for Seniors During the Summer Months
- Rest and Relax Away from the Heat
During the summer, it is good to maintain a refreshing environment where you can rest and relax. Also, ensure there is proper air circulation and keep the overall temperature regulated. You can also take cool showers to manage your body temperature.
- Increase Your Hydration
Be sure to raise your fluid intake during the summer months. Your daily diet must include at least 7-8 glasses of water. Also, include foods in your meals that have high water content, such as melons, cucumber, berries, and leafy vegetables.
- Reduce Direct Exposure to the Sun
According to specialists in senior rehabilitation communities, you should try to wear loose-fitting clothes with long sleeves when you spend time outdoors to protect your skin from the sun. Also, wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face. In addition to this, avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day between noon and 5 pm when you can.
- Keep Your Shades Shut
Studies show that around 30%-40% of the heat inside houses comes through the windows. This is why shutting the curtains and shades can cool your house. You may also consider using a heat-control window film.
Sunscreen Tips to Protect Yourself During Summer
Our skin becomes more delicate as we age. This change can be caused by many factors, including the side effects of medication. Drier skin is quite sensitive to the sun, which is why you should keep the following in mind:
Best Sunscreen for Seniors
Choose your sunscreen depending on what area of the body you want to protect. Certain types are easier to apply or may be formulated differently to be more comfortable. Be sure to check the SPF on each product to ensure adequate protection.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
SPF is used to rate the effectiveness of a product when it comes to preventing sunburn. Choose a sunscreen with higher SPF if you plan to stay outside for long. Also, consider a water-resistant product if you plan on swimming, enjoying a sprinkler, or doing an activity where you will be sweating. Keep in mind the following when buying and applying a sunscreen:
- A stick is a great choice for the back of your knees and ears.
- Use a spray or a cream for larger areas.
- Use 1-2 ounces of sunscreen every 2-3 hours.
- If you are involved in an activity that may cause sweating, be sure to apply it more frequently.
We Offer Excellent Care in Our Skilled Nursing & Rehab Facility
The Holiday Retirement has top-notch nursing homes in Rhode Island. Our skilled nursing facility and senior rehabilitation is just the place for you to recover after an illness or surgery. Whether you are looking for a short-stay or need long-term professional assistance, we can help. We have a qualified team to cater to your needs.