Explore our top tips for keeping seniors healthy this summer
The summer months offer seniors many fun and exciting opportunities for new outdoor activities, but the summer heat can also pose unique challenges and dangers.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can help your loved one enjoy time outside this summer, while also staying healthy and safe.
#1: Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for people of all ages during every season; however, proper hydration is even more important for seniors during the summer as they are more susceptible to dehydration.
Many seniors also take diuretic pills to treat conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure, which causes the body to lose fluids.
To help prevent dehydration, you should be sure that your loved one drinks plenty of water before and while spending time outside.
Water is typically enough to keep seniors hydrated, but if you notice that your loved one is feeling dehydrated, consider occasionally providing them with a sports drink like Gatorade to keep their electrolytes balanced.
#2: Wear and reapply sunscreen
Every year in the United States, over 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, with most of the cases being among people over the age of 65. However, less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun when outside for an hour or more. 
Seniors should take all possible measures to protect their skin against the sun’s harmful rays. Ensure that your loved one is wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more before going outside, and that they reapply at least every two hours.
#3: Dress for the weather
Loose and light-colored clothing made of natural fibers can help seniors feel cooler and more comfortable during the hot summer months. Loose long sleeve shirts and pants will also offer your senior more protection from the sun.
It’s also important that you encourage your loved one to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes and a hat to keep the sun off their face as much as possible.
#4: Be aware of heat wave advisories
Before your loved one heads outside for the day, be sure to look at the weather and check for any heat advisories. Heat waves can be dangerous for seniors and make it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature.
On days with extremely hot weather, it could be best to encourage your loved one to limit sun exposure or stay inside between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. 
Even when you take all precautions, your senior may still become overheated and possibly suffer heat stroke. It’s important that caregivers, loved ones, and seniors are aware of the signs of heat stroke:
- Rapid pulse
- Lack of sweat
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling weak
If you notice that you or your loved one is experiencing these symptoms while in the heat, it’s important to act fast and help them cool down by:
- Getting them out of the heat and into a cool space as soon as possible.
- Removing any excess clothing.
- Laying them down and elevating their legs.
- Applying cool, wet towels, and giving them a sports drink or water.
#5: Find cool places to spend time
Every summer activity does not need to involve the outdoor heat. You and your loved ones can also find fun activities to do at home inside in the air conditioning like painting, puzzles, or watching movies.
While staying inside in the air conditioning can help keep seniors cool, they may, understandably, not want to stay inside their home all day long. Look for places in their community where they can go, such as a community center, movie theater, or library.
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1: CDC | Many Older Adults Don’t Protect Their Skin from the Sun