Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Summer is known as a time of leisure, nostalgia and fun, but good times can easily turn into health scares if older adults neglect their health. No age group is immune to intense summer heat, but older adults are particularly susceptible to its effects on their health. Despite this, seniors should be able to enjoy a hot summer day without serious medical consequences. Here are some tips to help them do so safely:
Watch Your Timing
It’s hard to resist being outside on a nice day, especially after a streak of unusually rainy or cool weather, but some days it’s best to stay indoors or to at least limit the amount of time spent in the heat. With age comes the thinning and weakening of the skin, making it more difficult to heal from things like sun damage. For days where lots of sunshine is predicted, seniors should try to catch some rays in the early morning or late afternoon, to avoid the sun at its hottest.
Everyone looks forward to outings with family and friends, and older adults are no exception. Seniors don’t have to miss out on this quality time with loved ones, but they should take hot weather into account while planning these outings, as aging bodies have a more difficult time self-regulating temperature. Elderly individuals can still enjoy time with family on a hot day in places like an air conditioned movie theater, indoor exhibits at the zoo, or a peaceful spot in the park underneath a shady tree. Time outside doesn’t have to be eliminated altogether, but should tempered with breaks in cooler, shaded areas.
Let the Air In
Even if seniors do opt to stay indoors on hotter days, not having a proper air circulation system can make a home even more uncomfortable than the outdoors. Check windows to ensure they can open (and close) without hindrance. Remember that it’s important to make sure air conditioners are properly installed and fully functioning before those exceptionally hot days are forecasted.
It’s easy to get overheated on a hot summer day, especially for older adults who already have a decreased ability to manage internal body temperature. Drinking enough water is necessary all year round, it’s one of the most straightforward, yet effective ways to combat heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses in the warmer months. Older adults can bring a chilled bottle of water along to any summer events and outings, and can even keep one nearby in the home to make sure they don’t overlook their water intake.
With these simple tips, seniors can still enjoy some summer fun in a safe, healthy way.