How to Stay Safe and Cool This Summer: Tips for the Elderly

elderly woman outside

Summer is that time of the year when people can have fun outdoors, enjoy a great time with family and friends, and hit the beach. The days are longer, and it is the break many have been waiting for. 

The elderly may also feel the same. Despite the humid weather, they can spend time with their loved ones outdoors while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Indeed, everyone needs vitamin D from the sun, but for the elderly, high temperatures can increase the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion. While it is okay to spend time outdoors, they still need to know their limitations and beware of the hazards to protect themselves against health issues. 

Here are some tips they can follow for a safe and fun summer:

Tip 1: Know When to Avoid the Sun.

It is okay to spend time outdoors but beware of when they should stop and go inside. Usually, 11 am to 3 pm is the hottest period of the day. During these few hours, the sun’s rays can be so intense that they can cause skin damage, eye damage, and so on. Consider staying indoors during these times. 

Tip 2: Do Not Overexpose the Skin

Aside from avoiding the sun, make sure they wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. This can lessen the risk of sunburns and melanoma. Try to apply more sunscreen on the areas that are more prone to exposure, such as the face, neck, and ears. 

Even when it is not during the hot hours, they should wear protective clothing. Sunglasses can protect their eyes from extreme sun exposure, and a hat can provide shade for their face. If they want to feel cool and comfortable despite the heat, wearing light-colored clothing can make a difference.

Tip 3: Keep Hydrated.

Always have refreshments available but try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible. These hasten dehydration rather than address it. Make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the day and not just when they feel thirsty. If planning to stay outdoors, a cool washcloth on the forehead or the back of the neck can make them feel better. 

Tip 4: Find Shade.

Seniors sensitive to the heat should stay inside a room with an air conditioning unit, especially during the extreme heat window. If there is a need to stay outside for long, try to look for a shady spot. Set up chairs and tables under that spot and place a large umbrella to keep everyone protected from direct sunlight. Staying inside the vehicle while the AC is on is a good alternative as well.

Tip 5: Beware of the Signs.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses is an excellent way to prevent them. They can help you address any of these symptoms before they get worse. Here are some things you should watch out for:

Heatstroke

  • Headache
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness

Heat Exhaustion

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue


When you notice these symptoms, let them take a break, bring them to a cool spot, keep them hydrated, and seek immediate medical help. 

Conclusion

Spending outdoors is always fun until someone suffers from heatstroke or exhaustion. The summertime is a great reminder to watch out for these conditions—especially in the elderly. If you need to spend time outdoors with friends and family and want your senior family members to experience the fun, take proper precautions. Home care nursing services can also make you feel more at ease during this situation. They will assist older adults in whatever ways they need.

Gateway Home Health Hospice provides home nursing care to those in need. Our home health clinical team can provide your loved ones with the care they need. Our goal is to improve your loved one’s quality of life. Contact us today to schedule a service. 

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