Summer is a time for rest, relaxation, and fun in the sun. However, the extreme temperatures can also present several health risks, especially for older adults. Help the seniors in your life stay cool and safe this summer with these warm-weather tips:
Practice Sun Safety
Sun safety is important all year round. However, the risks of sun damage and skin cancer increase during the summer months when the days are longer and the sun is stronger. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and 1 in 5 American adults will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can also cause painful sunburns, premature skin aging, and eye damage such as cataracts.
Thankfully, there are simple steps we can all take to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. Because UV rays can pass through windows, it’s a good idea to wear a broad spectrum of at least SPF 30 daily, regardless of whether you’re headed outside. Be sure to reapply SPF throughout the day because it can wear off with sun exposure. In addition to sunscreen, protect against skin damage by sporting a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when spending time outdoors.
Dehydration is another serious health concern for people of all ages, but it can be especially common—and dangerous—among older adults. As people get older, it’s normal to experience a lack of thirst, which causes them to drink less water and can lead to dehydration. Certain medications may also make older adults prone to experiencing dehydration, and so can chronic illnesses such as diabetes or dementia.
To help the older adults in your life stay safe this summer, watch for warning signs of dehydration, such as weakness, confusion, dizziness, and muscle cramps. Encourage them to drink plenty of clear fluids and eat water-dense foods such as watermelon and cucumber. If left untreated, dehydration can escalate to more severe conditions such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, so it’s best to limit outdoor time in extreme temperatures.
Dress for the Weather
Wearing the right clothing can help older adults regulate their body temperature and stay cool in the summer heat. Choose loose-fitting clothing in comfortable, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. Dressing in light colors will help to reflect light and heat better than dark colors. For further sun protection, consider wearing UV sun-safe clothing for beach or pool days.
If you’re concerned about the health and safety of an older loved one this summer, it could be time to consider the benefits of assisted living. Assisted living is often safer for older adults than living alone at home, especially during the hot summer months. In assisted living, help is available around the clock to provide support with daily tasks and provide 24/7 emergency assistance as needed.
To learn more about life at Bethany Village, please fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us. We are happy to answer your questions and provide a tour of our beautiful community!