June 21, 2018

Summer is a time to enjoy fun and relaxation in the warmer weather. But for older adults, the hot summer months can also present serious health concerns such as dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and sun damage. Beat the heat and stay safe this summer with our helpful tips for seniors.

Prevent sun damage

Proper sun safety is important at any age, but older adults may be particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. Be sure to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to block the sun’s UVB rays and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is a common health concern among seniors, in part because older adults become less aware of their sense of thirst as they age and consume less fluid throughout the day. Dehydration can also be caused by excessive sweating, diabetes, and certain medications such as diuretics. Watch for the symptoms of dehydration, including headache, a tired feeling in the limbs, sleepiness, and a weakened pulse. Without treatment, dehydration can eventually lead to reduced or loss of consciousness. To prevent dehydration, be sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially if you plan on spending time outdoors in hot weather.

Protect your eyes

Too much sun exposure can cause irritation and permanent damage to our eyes. Sensitivity to bright sunlight can also cause painful headaches. Help preserve your eyesight on sunny days by wearing sunglasses with UV protection. If you already wear prescription eyeglasses, look for lenses that have an added UV layer to help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

Know the signs of heatstroke

Heatstroke is another highly dangerous health risk in that frequently occurs in the hot summer months. Older adults are more likely to experience heat-related health problems because their bodies don’t adjust to sudden temperature changes as well as younger people. Common symptoms of heatstroke include an extreme body temperature (over 104 degrees), nausea and vomiting, confusion or irritation, headache, a strong pulse, dizziness, and fainting. If untreated, heatstroke can be life-threatening. If you recognize the signs of heatstroke in yourself or someone else, seek medical help immediately. 

Check side effects of medications

Some prescription medications can cause adverse side effects or become less effective when exposed to sunlight or warmer temperatures. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor if your medications will be affected in the summer months.

Wear the right clothing

In the summer, it’s best to wear clothing that’s breathable and lightweight to regulate your body temperature in the warmer weather. Choose clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton and linen instead of synthetic materials to help ensure you stay comfortable and cool all summer long.

If you’re concerned about the safety and security of an older loved one this summer, consider the benefits of assisted living. Assisted living is often a healthier and safer alternative to living alone at home, especially during the hot summer months. In assisted living, seniors and their families can find peace of mind knowing help is always there to assist with daily tasks and provide 24/7 emergency assistance as needed.