With the pandemic now hopefully behind us, how can seniors most safely enjoy and celebrate this new summer?
There are two priorities to keep our communities elders safe.
- Avoiding the dangers of excessive summer heat and humidity (especially this year)
- Preventing falls, a year round need, but one where summer presents its unique challenges.
KEEP COOL DURING THIS HOT SUMMER
Unfortunately, heat exhaustion and heat stroke which can lead to death or serious disability, are much more common in the aging. Simple prevention includes staying out of the direct sun between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, exercising in air conditioning or during cooler times of day, staying well hydrated with water and electrolytes (sports drinks), and wearing loose, lightly colored clothing. Non-alcoholic drinks are the best for everyone during the heat.
HOW DO YOU SPOT AND TREAT SOMEONE WHO IS OVER-HEATED?
People with heat exhaustion or heat stroke can display weakness, dizziness, headache, confusion, fast pulse, heavy sweating, or red hot, dry damp skin. Treatment includes moving them to a cooler place, using cool cloths or a cool bath to lower body temperature, sipping water, and if they do pass out or symptoms get worse, get immediate medical attention or dial 911.
PREVENTING FALLS OUTSIDE
Falls are one of the major reasons seniors get hospitalized and even suffer an early death. Along with falling from heat exhaustion/stroke many summer activities can lead to falls. This includes falls while hiking up in our beautiful mountains or other attractive areas. Along with taking a sturdy walking stick to navigate curbs and other uneven surfaces, be sure to pack all the supplies you need to stay well hydrated and safe from the heat and sun. Be sure to take a charged cell phone and let someone not with you know where you’re going and when you expect to get back.
Closer to home, other activities that can cause a fall includes yard work and anything involving a ladder. Rather than risking an injury or maybe even your life climbing a ladder to clean a window or paint some trim, hire a college student or a contractor to do the work. It can save you in the long run, literally! Yard work can also involve lifting heavy bags, rocks or other items, All of which can contribute a joint and back pain, one of the most common reason seniors go to the doctor and use pain medication. Again, hire someone else to do the work to avoid it becoming a pain in the neck or your back.