The summer is an enjoyable time of year for many of us. For older adults, it’s the perfect time to travel, get outside and enjoy life to its fullest after retirement. At Harbour’s Edge, a luxury senior living community in Delray Beach, Florida, we embrace the summer lifestyle year-round. We also recognize the importance of maintaining healthy habits while spending time outdoors as the temperatures rise.
However, seniors in particular can encounter a number of health risks in the summer months. Here, we will explore those risks and share some of our top summer safety tips for older adults.
Why Summer Heat Poses a Risk for Seniors
While excessive heat and sun exposure can negatively impact anyone, seniors are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays and warmer temps. Why is this? Body composition changes with age. This means seniors might not be as sensitive to feelings of thirst as they used to be in the past. As we age, our skin also loses its fat and water content allowing UV light to penetrate more deeply.
Seniors are also at a greater risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Common symptoms of these heat-related illnesses include feeling sluggish, light-headed, nauseous or dizzy after being outside. Other ailments include heat cramps, sunburn and dehydration.
Despite these risks, staying active and getting outdoors can have a positive impact on overall well-being. And you can still enjoy plenty of outdoor summer activities as long as you take some precautions.
6 Tips for Older Adults to Stay Safe This Summer
The summer months are the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the finer things in life. Whether you’re reading a gripping novel on the patio or going for a jog outdoors, there are many ways to protect your body in the warm weather so that you can continue to enjoy life after retirement.
Drink Lots of Water
According to The Cleveland Clinic, “Seniors are at greater risk for dehydration because of how body composition changes with age.” This is amplified in warmer months. Water is necessary for most of our bodily functions, including regulating body temperature. Older adults should make sure to drink plenty of water. More water than you think you need. Especially in the summer.
This tip applies to everyone, regardless of age. But it’s especially true for older adults. Wear sunscreen whenever you are outdoors and exposed to the sun. Even when it’s cloudy you should still wear sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen year-round to prevent skin cancer. Sun damage — caused by UV rays — can happen quickly.
Protect Your Eyes and Skin
The summer months are the perfect time to wear bright and breathable clothing. Light colors reflect sunlight and help keep you cool. Cotton is the most breathable fabric, and wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Hats are another stylish way to prevent sun damage.
Check Out the Weather Forecast
It’s always worth checking out the day’s weather forecast before venturing outside. Pay attention to any indicators of potentially dangerous weather, such as a heat advisory or extreme heat advisory. If temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above, then you need to be more cautious as an older adult.
Take Air Conditioning Breaks
Whether you are out on the town or just hanging around the garden at home, it’s important to work some A/C time into your schedule to regulate your body temperature and keep cool. An important note: When the temperature gets excessively hot or dry, fans may do more harm than good. Instead, if you don’t have access to A/C, consider taking a cool midday shower, placing a cold damp cloth on the back of the neck or snacking on cold foods. And if you have a swimming pool available — like the residents of Harbour’s Edge — consider going for a swim.
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
Knowing how to identify the signs of heat-related illness can help you or a loved one avoid an emergency situation. Headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion are all signs of heat stroke. This is a medical emergency and you should seek medical attention right away. Heavy sweating or cold and clammy skin? You may be experiencing heat exhaustion and need to cool down.
Safety Is a Priority Year-Round at Harbour’s Edge
At Harbour’s Edge, our team members make safety a priority year-round. We empower our residents to live independently for as long as possible, while still enjoying life to its fullest. We recognize the importance of getting outdoors and have a healthy respect for the Florida sun.
If you are interested in elevating your summer experience and making the most of your retirement years, then we hope you’ll consider booking a tour to see what life is like at Harbour’s Edge.