The winters here in Southeast PA are long and cold, so most of us look forward to the warm summer months all year long. Barbecues, beach trips, and relaxing by the pool or lake with friends and family make summer a favorite time of year. However, too much fun and sun in the great outdoors can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and other health or safety problems, especially for older adults who are more sensitive to the sun and heat.
The good news is a few simple precautions can keep these problems at bay and help seniors optimize their enjoyment of the long summer days. Here are some important tips to protect yourself or loved ones and safely enjoy the summer sun.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Caregivers and home care services understand the need for sunscreen all too well. Sunscreen was a novelty for many older adults who grew up not wearing any at all. As a result, they often don’t apply enough or reapply as frequently as they should. If you or older adults in your life plan on spending time outdoors this summer season, it’s important to invest in quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above and apply an ample amount every two to three hours depending on the strength of the sun and the activities you’ll be doing.
Wear the Right Clothing
The best summer clothing for seniors and older adults is lightweight and constructed of cotton or another breathable material. Despite the heat, long-sleeved shirts should be worn for added protection from the sun. Wide brimmed hats should also be worn to protect your face from the sun’s harsh rays. If you or a loved one is fortunate enough to take advantage of assisted living not an assisted living community, an experienced caregiver will help pick out the right clothing for ideal coverage and protection.
Choose Quality Sunglasses
Many people view sunglasses as a fashion accessory, but they also play a critical role in protecting your vision. According to some studies, sunglasses can even help prevent the development of cataracts. When choosing a pair of sunglasses, make sure to select a pair with 100 percent UV and UB protection. Anything less simply won’t do.
Stay in the Shade
Anyone experienced in-home care services knows full well how tough the summer sun can be on the skin of older adults. While sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat will provide some protection, it’s important to stay under an umbrella when at the beach, the lake, or anywhere else out in the sun.
Remain Indoors During Peak Sunlight Hours
The sun is at its hottest and most intense during the mid-day hours. If you like to garden, play tennis, or perform any other outdoor activities, it’s best to enjoy them in the evening or early morning hours when the sun is less intense and the weather cools down. Try to stay indoors during peak sunlight hours.
While protecting yourself from the sun is key, staying well hydrated is important as well. Experienced caregivers know seniors suffer a greater risk of dehydration due to medication side effects and a variety of other factors. Therefore, if you plan on spending time outdoors at the beach or anywhere else this summer season, make sure to pack a cooler with plenty of bottled water to keep you well hydrated all day long.
Check Your Medications
Increased sensitivity to the sun’s powerful rays is a common side effect of many medications. Therefore, you should look over your medications and discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your doctor before heading out to enjoy any outdoor activities for a short amount of time or with prolonged sun exposure.
Tip: Knowing the symptoms of heat stroke can save your life. High body temperature, nausea, headache, a flushed face, dizziness, rapid pulse, and lack of sweat are the key signs of heat stroke and immediate action should be taken. If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy assisted living not a assisted living community, your caregiver will know to place a cool icepack on the back of your neck, increase your water consumption, and remove you from the sun whenever any of these symptoms occur.
The team at By Your Side Care understands the importance of staying hydrated and protecting yourself from the sun and its harmful effects. We’re happy to share these tips and more to keep the seniors in our lives happy, healthy, and enjoying life to its fullest!