Summer is here and while many are looking to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and a wide variety of outdoor activities, it’s important to take precaution. Summer can be a fun time for all, but it also can present certain risks.
Heat, and sun exposure can create many challenges for seniors. Check out some quick tips to keep summer safe and fun!
Firstly, seniors need to stay hydrated as the ability to regulate the temperature and retain moisture decreases with age.
Even mild dehydration can cause an uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms. Understanding the warning signs can help you take action before the situation becomes severe.
Early dehydration symptoms include:
+ Dark-colored urine, urinating less frequently
+ Fatigue, or feeling weak
+ Muscle cramps in arms or legs
+ Dry mouth
+ Confusion, decreased cognitive function
The tiredness and lack of coordination that may result from dehydration can also lead to falls and injury. The best way to prevent dehydration is the simplest: drink more water throughout the day. It’s also a good ideal limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Seek shaded spots, wear protective clothing, apply SPF, and schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
Seniors must familiarize themselves with the signs of heatstroke and prepare an updated emergency contact list accessible always.
+ Only about 15% of older adults and 8% of sun-sensitive older adults regularly used all 5 kinds of sun protection.
+ The most popular kinds of sun protection among older men were wearing clothing to the ankles, such as pants (44%) and staying in the shade (37%).
+ The most popular kinds of sun protection among older women were staying in the shade (47%) and using sunscreen (32%).
+ Nearly 18% of older adults and 15% of sun-sensitive older adults said they didn’t use any kind of sun protection regularly.
+ More than 1 in 10 older adults (13%) had been sunburned in the past year, and sunburn was nearly twice as high among sun-sensitive older adults (20%).
+ Although sunburn was most often reported among non-Hispanic White older adults, sunburn was reported among all racial and ethnic groups in the study, including Black and Hispanic older adults.
People who reach the age of 65 can expect to live, on average, 2 more decades. This means that efforts to improve the use of sun protection and reduce sunburn among older adults would likely help to reduce skin cancer risk in later decades of life. More research can help us to understand the best ways to promote and support sun safety among older adults. Communities can continue making sun protection options easily accessible to older adults by increasing shade in outdoor public spaces.
Additionally, be mindful of medications that increase sensitivity to heat, sun exposure, and dehydration.