As the weather heats up, older adults are at an increased risk for heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. There are several possible reasons for this – factors such as decreased sweat production and feeling of thirst and interactions with different medications.
At Astral at Franklin, the safety and well-being of residents are at the forefront of everything we do. Our independent living, assisted living and memory care options allow older adults to live their best lives while remaining safe and comfortable.
We understand the risks that come with high temperatures, which is why we are sharing three essential summer safety tips to help you stay healthy and happy this season.
As the temperatures rise outside, one of our best summer safety tips is to make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. The National Council on Aging reveals that seniors are at a greater risk for dehydration – and that risk only increases during the summer months. Older adults often have a diminished sense of thirst, which means a problem could arise before their body registers it. Also, certain medications can exacerbate the problem.
For these reasons, it is essential that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water is vital to proper body function, including your vital organs, and a lack of adequate hydration can leave you feeling weak, lethargic or dizzy.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you should set a goal to drink 7-8 glasses of water every day. Try carrying a reusable bottle, so that water is always at hand, and add slices of cucumber or lemon to add flavor. In addition, many fruits and vegetables contain high water content, such as melons, strawberries and bell peppers. Trying to incorporate more of these into your daily diet can help you stay hydrated without drinking glass after glass of water.
Spending prolonged periods of time outside during the summer can expose you to extreme heat and harmful sun rays. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against these hazards. First, you should plan your outdoor activities in the early hours of the day or in the evenings whenever possible. This decision alone can keep you safe from the hottest parts of the day.
If you plan to be outside in the middle of the day, wear cool, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable materials. This will help your body regulate your core temperature and reduce your risk for heatstroke.
You should also plan to wear a hat and sunscreen any time you are outside for a prolonged period. According to Prevention.com, “look for broad spectrum on the label: This ensures your SPF protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays. (UVA rays prematurely age skin and UVB rays burn; both can cause skin cancer.) Our experts recommend choosing SPF 30 or higher.” This will reduce your risk for skin cancer as well as protect you from the discomfort of a sunburn.
Even when you take all the necessary precautions, you may find yourself experiencing the effects of heat exhaustion, heatstroke or dehydration. Our third summer safety tip is to learn what to look for if you or a family member is experiencing distress because of the heat.
Fortunately, the National Institute on Aging shares what symptoms to look for if you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke:
Heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening condition. If you suspect that someone is suffering heatstroke, take the following actions:
Astral at Franklin’s care, amenities and services help residents enjoy active and fulfilling lives, no matter the season. By following these summer safety tips, you ensure you and the ones you love enjoy a wonderful and safe summer season.
Visit our website to learn more about our independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Franklin, Indiana.
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