Summer is the time to be active and enjoy the outdoors. For adults aged 65 or older, summertime can also pose health challenges. They can be more vulnerable to dehydration and heat-related illnesses. Seniors may also become disoriented by certain summer activities. Combined with COVID-19 risks, it is imperative to monitor their health. Not everyone is aware of these challenges so here are a few things to keep in mind.
Keep a bottle of water always handy and encourage small sips as you go. As we age, our bodies lose some natural ability to regulate temperature and senses become dull. In addition, factors such as medications and limited mobility can lead to dehydration. If exposed to high temperatures, the risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke increases. Symptoms include are headache, blurred vision, nausea, and fatigue. Avoid alcohol, sugary beverages, and caffeinated drinks because these can add to dehydration.
2. Use Caution
Many seniors have underlying conditions like diabetes and heart disease. So before participating in summer activities, consider COVID-19 risks. Comfort level, age, medical condition, and crowds. Going out to a large family celebration, amusement park, or movie theater may not be good options. Instead, try outdoor family events, always wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Instead of leaving medications in the car, consider bringing along a cooler. The heat renders medications less effective and, in some cases, harmful. Avoid this by keeping them in dry conditions between 60 to 70 degrees.
3. Wear Sunscreen
Just 30 minutes a day outside is healthy. However, seniors are vulnerable to the sun’s rays because of their thinner skin. Protect the skin by applying an SPF15 sunscreen about 30 minutes before going out and reapply according to instructions. Bring along protective clothing like hats, cotton shirts and pants, and sunglasses. Cracks in the concrete may be tripping hazards so wearing stabilizing shoes and avoiding sandals is recommended. Also, be mindful and check for insect bites.
Although this summer may be a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by taking special precautions and minimizing risk, older adults can have an active, healthy, and safe summer.
If you are considering a nursing home or assisted living for a loved one in northern NJ, The Little Nursing Home of Montclair offers a cozy and calm atmosphere with the comforts of home. We are family-owned for over 60 years and run by experienced registered nurses. Call or email us for more info or to schedule a tour.