How have you been enjoying summer so far? For most Canadians, this is the best time of year. Gone are the toques and scarves, leaving t-shirts and shorts as the main form of dress. There are some Canadians who aren’t the biggest fans of summer. Many of them are older adults. Seniors are more likely to feel the effects of the heat than their younger counterparts. It’s not just the heat that concerns them too.
Here are three summer safety tips for seniors:
1. Seek the shade as often as possible.
It’s understandable if you’d like to catch as many sun rays as you can this summer. Who doesn’t enjoy getting a nice tan? It’s important to remember, however, that “tan” is actually a synonym for “sun damage”. Seniors generally have very sensitive skin. So, in addition to avoiding heat stroke, they should also protect their skin by wearing ample sunscreen. As well, it’s wise to avoid the sun’s harmful UV rays by staying in the shade as often as possible.
“Being directly in the sun for an extended period of time is risky,” warns Montreal’s Complete Care Coordination, “Whenever possible, seniors should find shade to get out of the heat every so often; for example, when spending time at a public park, it’s best to sit on a bench beneath a tree with dense foliage.”
2. Keep medications up to date and properly stored.
Although this is a year-round requirement, it’s important for seniors to be on top of their medications during the summertime. This is especially true if they plan vacationing. On Care.com, Katie Choi recommends that older adults refill their prescriptions in advance so they don’t run out during a time when they’re away from home.
“Another seasonal concern: Many medications degrade at temperatures over 86°F, making them less effective,” she informs, “Consult your senior loved one’s doctor or pharmacist for advice if they don’t have air conditioning in their home. In general, they may want to avoid storing medication in the bathroom, which can get extra hot and humid.”
3. Dress for the weather.
During the wintertime, we Canadians tend to know exactly what to wear. To avoid freezing, we throw on toques, scarves, coats, mittens and boots each and every day. During the summer, we don’t seem to understand how to dress ourselves. We often wear nothing more than a pair of shorts, sandals and a tank top. Believe it or not, this isn’t safe summer wear – especially for seniors.
“In order to protect an elderly person’s skin from the harmful rays, make sure the right attire is worn,” advises Complete Care Coordination, “Choose wide brimmed hats that cover the face and neck, as well as sunglasses with protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It may also be a good idea to wear pants and long-sleeve shirts, as these provide a bit of protection from the sun, though it’s important to make sure your senior loved one doesn’t overheat under too many layers.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we’re committed to helping seniors enjoy their summers. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help with that. To learn all about our mobility devices and home accessibility renovations, call us at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!