5 Senior Health Tips for Staying Safe and Cool This Summer

As summer heats up, the risk of suffering heat-related illness rises, especially for older adults. Follow these 5 summer safety tips to keep an older adult in your family safe.
5 Senior Health Tips for Staying Safe and Cool This Summer
Summer heat can present health risks for older adults. Credit: gpointstudio via Freepik

Summertime isn’t just for kids! While school children around the country eagerly look forward to their summer break, seniors too look forward to the sunny weather, outdoor activities, and spending more time with grandchildren.

But the summer isn’t as mild as it once was. Temperatures are getting hotter earlier in the summer, with high heat now common in May and June, while the number and severity of heat waves are increasing.

It’s those extreme temperatures that should have seniors concerned. During extreme heat, people become more vulnerable to heatstroke, exhaustion, edema (swelling feet and ankles), fainting, and sunburn.

While we often think about the winter as the most dangerous for seniors, given the challenges that come with icy sidewalks, summer brings its own unique challenges. Here’s how seniors can stay healthy while still enjoying all the outdoors has to offer this season.

#1 Head to the Pool

Cooling down in the pool after an afternoon walk is a great way to relax and bring your temperature down. On those stifling hot dog days, though, the indoor pool may be the place to be to get some exercise.

Pool-based activities and exercises are regular events at many All Seniors Care residences, where senior living is all about staying healthy through age-appropriate exercise and activity.

#2 Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Don’t let the heat scare you! While extreme weather advisories or poor air quality are legitimate reasons to consider staying indoors, don’t miss out on all the perks of summer when temperatures are more reasonable.

The great outdoors is a place to enjoy time with friends and family, but depending on where you live, it’s not always so amenable. Even if you’re on your own, the psychological and social benefits of walking around your community shouldn’t be missed. You meet your neighbors, discover new local businesses, and you improve your health.

#3 Identify the Signs of Overheating

If you plan on exercising or exerting yourself in the heat, you should know the signs of overheating and when it’s time to head indoors to cool down. These are all signs that you should find somewhere that you can cool down:

  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fainting or feeling faint
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Muscle pains or spasms

#4 Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is good advice for anyone in the summer heat, but seniors in particular are more susceptible to dehydration. They have a decreased response to thirst, lower fluid content, and are more likely to be on medication that can compound the problem.

#5 Protect Yourself from the Sun

Last but not least, don’t forget the sunscreen. Seniors get much more sensitive to sunburns and dehydration as a result of the fatty layer beneath the skin thinning out. That makes it all the more important that you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from those rays. In addition to sunscreen, wear light, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat that can provide additional protection.

Don’t fear the summer! Taking the right precautions, you can safely enjoy the warm weather.

Author

Jason Vredenburg, RD

Jason Vredenburg is a nutrition writer with over twenty years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. He has researched and written nu

View All