Simple safety measures as the seasons shift always seem like a small thing to think about. However, if these safety measures are followed and thought about more often, more lives of seniors could be saved. Did you know that out of the 12,000 people that die from heat-related injuries that 80% of them are over 60?
Summer is a time of year that many Florida seniors look forward to and it’s not hard to see why considering that Florida has some of the most beautiful weather year-round. With that though, you have to keep in mind that the majority of serious heat-related injuries are represented by seniors. Florida summers are known for the warm weather, longer days, and abundance of outdoor activities and this is why expressing what seniors are more prone to throughout the different seasons is important.
Heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn are just a few of the potential dangers that seniors need to be aware of during the summer months. Since there is much more that should spark your concern, we’re going to highlight some tips for staying safe and healthy during the summer season.
Simple Things to Solve Anything
Seniors have to worry about the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, an increased risk of falls, along with sunburn and skin damage. With all of the things you need to be aware of as a senior living in Florida, there are a few simple safety habits that you could develop to limit your risk of experiencing any of these concerns.
Staying Hydrated Makes a Difference
One of the biggest health risks for seniors during the summer months is dehydration. Not to mention, when you’re dehydrated, you could experience a variety of things. From headaches and dizziness to loss of strength and a faster track to heat exhaustion. You will also want to keep in mind that when you’re dehydrated, especially consistently, you could potentially damage your kidney functioning. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature and retaining fluids, which can make dehydration more common.
To stay properly hydrated, seniors should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day or what they comfortably can. As a senior, you should also try to avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks, as these can actually dehydrate the body. If you are spending time outdoors, be sure to bring water or an electrolyte-enhancing drink with you and take frequent breaks throughout the day.
Keeping Yourself Cool
Another important way to stay safe during the summer months is to avoid overheating. As mentioned, seniors are at an increased risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses, so it is important to take steps to stay cool and to consistently be proactive.
One of the best ways to stay cool and avoid the chance of becoming quickly exhausted by heat is to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day. If you need to be outside, try to stay in shaded areas and wear loose, lightweight clothing. You should also wear something that gives you as much sun coverage as possible like a visor or another form of hat. Additionally, sunglasses are just as important and are a great way to protect your face and eye area from the sun.
Keeping Yourself Active
While it is important to stay cool and hydrated during the summer months, it is also important to stay active. Regular exercise can help seniors maintain their strength, balance, and flexibility, which can help reduce the risk of falls and other injuries that could potentially put a dent in your summer plans.
You do, however, want to be mindful of the dangers of heat when exercising outdoors. Seniors should try to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler if they prefer the outdoors over an air-conditioned gym.
Protect Your Skin as a Senior
Sunburn is not only uncomfortable, it can also increase the risk of skin cancer. Seniors are usually at an increased risk of different cancers so being proactive is essential to proper prevention. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and try to always wear protective clothing, such as lightweight long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, to protect your skin from the sun.
If you do get a sunburn, be sure to treat it right away. Apply a cool, damp cloth to the affected area, use a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy in it, and take over-the-counter pain medication if needed.
Being Social, Believe It or Not, Is a Good Thing
Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the company of friends and family. However, seniors are at an increased risk of social isolation, which can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. This is why it’s vital to always assess how often you are alone. Are you a long-distance grandparent or live far away from family in general?
To combat social isolation, try to stay connected with friends and family members even if you have to use digital means. You can also consider joining a local senior center or participating in community activities to escape the Florida heat while connecting with new people. These things are all essential because you can prevent adverse reactions associated with other things and enhance other facets of your wellness.
Taking Your Safety Seriously As A Senior
Too many seniors fall victim to underestimation of the heat and that’s something that can be prevented with consistent safety. It’s important to be aware of the potential health risks that seniors are more susceptible to. Just like that, taking steps to stay safe and healthy can not only be life-saving, but it can also be an optimizer for your overall health, and act as an outlet for many seniors if they are outdoor enthusiasts.
By staying hydrated, cool, active, and protecting your skin, you can enjoy all that summer has to offer, without putting your health at risk as a senior.