Be Cool: 5 Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun This SummerJuly 15, 2016 | Canyon Creek
Summer has arrived in Utah, and the residents here at Canyon Creek Senior Living are ecstatic to experience the brighter skies, beautiful sun, longer days and warmer temperatures. While we love sun and all the fun it brings, the hotter weather does pose some health risks, especially for the elderly. It's important to spend time outside and get some much-needed vitamin D but it's also important to stay safe and cautious. Read on for tips on how to ensure you and your aging loved one stay nice and cool this summer.
Heat Safety Tips for Seniors
Tip #1: Stay Indoors During Hot Days
- On days when it's excessively, hot it's important for the elderly to stay indoors, preferably in an air-conditioned environment.
- The sun is usually the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. so it's especially important to avoid outdoor activities during these peak hours.
- If you know that a heat wave is coming, check on your elderly loved one and make sure they are safe indoors.
Tip #2: Stay Hydrated
Our bodies are made up of more than 50% water, so we need to continually replenish our supply. In warmer temperatures, we sweat more, losing important hydration and electrolytes that are vital to the healthy functioning of our bodies. That makes hydrating even more important during the summertime.
- Make sure your senior loved one has plenty of drinkable water available. If the tap water isn't safe to drink, stock up on lots of bottled water or invest in a water filtering system.
- If you don't like the taste of plain water, try sodium-free sparkling water or flavored electrolyte-enhanced waters such as Smart Water or Gatorade.
Tip #3: Dress in Layers
- The morning may start out fresh and cool, but in the dry summer heat temperatures can rise quickly, making the heat much more intolerable come lunchtime.
- If you're venturing out to spend time outdoors on a hot summer day, it's best to dress in layers. Wearing a light-weight tank top under a cardigan, for example, is a great option. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing throughout the day as the temperatures rise and fall so you can avoid overheating.
- Wear lightweight breathable clothing (natural fabrics like cotton are ideal) so that your skin can breathe and you won't get too sweaty.
Tip #4: Take a Cool Shower
- Taking a tepid shower in the evenings after a busy day, or in the afternoons when the sun is shining at its brightest, will also help you to stay cool and refreshed.
Tip #5: Avoid Caffeine
- While caffeine is a popular way to start your day, it naturally dehydrates us; we are especially susceptible to dehydration during the summer, so the combination can be dangerous.
- Choose decaffeinated versions of your favorite beverages or limit yourself to one cup of caffeine in the morning. And again, we can't stress this enough: drink lots of water!
How Do We Enjoy the Summers at Canyon Creek?
We ensure that our activities are timely and suited to the season, and that they're educational and beneficial for everyone involved. Last summer dermatologists came in during an outdoor lemonade social to discuss sunscreen sun safety and the importance of hydration, and offered free skin checks ensuring the absence of any cancerous moles or abnormal skin changes. We have also had a lifeguard do a presentation about summer and swimming safety at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center in Cottonwood Heights, UT. Thankfully our senior living community is air-conditioned so the many different indoor activities available for our residents ensure that we stay nice and cool, safe, and happy.
Understand the Warning Signs
Prevention is always the best remedy. However, when that first line of defense fails, it's important to know how to properly address the issue, as seniors are especially vulnerable to the health complications that result from heat-related illnesses.
In order to prevent further health complications resulting from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, it's critical to know how to recognize the symptoms and when to seek the help of a medical professional. To ensure that your elderly loved one stays safe this summer, please be sure to understand the signs and symptoms of overheating:
- Symptoms of heat stroke in seniors detailed by the CDC.
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion in seniors detailed by the EPA.
Stay safe and cool this summer, and feel free to reach out with any questions you may have for our senior living advisors.
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