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Wellness Tips for Seniors in the Summer

Now that summer's in full swing, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the warmth and fresh air. While spending time in the sun is a great way to support your health and wellness, staying safe in rising temperatures requires extra planning and preparation. From sun protection strategies to snacking tips, let’s take a look at some pointers for staying safe throughout the warm season.

Stay Hydrated

While dehydration poses a hazard for people of any age, seniors are at a much greater risk for dehydration than other age groups. As we age, our bodies hold less water. Compared to the body of an adult male, which is composed of roughly 60% water, the bodies of those aged 65 and over are composed of about 50% water. As a result, dehydration happens considerably faster in older adults.

Particularly on hot days, it’s important to watch for the early signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Infrequent urination

The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of water, juice or milk throughout the day. If remembering to drink water is difficult, setting a timer can help you remember to rehydrate.

Stay Out of Direct Sunlight for Long Periods of Time

When planning outdoor activities, consider limiting your sun exposure to the morning, late afternoon and evening hours. Because older adults have thinner, more fragile skin, they’re more vulnerable to skin damage from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight during peak hours.

When you go outside, seek shade and avoid spending long periods in unfiltered sunlight. Cover up with breathable clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, and take breaks to spend time indoors in air-conditioned spaces.

Wear Sunscreen

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that less than half of seniors wear sunscreen when they spend an hour or more outside, and nearly 1 in 5 seniors report they don’t use sunscreen regularly. Applying sunscreen before heading outdoors maximizes your safety and comfort now and reduces your risk of developing skin cancer later on.

With regular use, sunscreen can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles, brown spots and sunburn. However, sunscreen's benefits don’t end there. The CDC reports that regular sunscreen use can reduce your skin cancer risk in later decades of life. To get maximum benefit, look for sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50, and reapply it every couple of hours or after being in the water.  

Pro Tip: Have an Automated Delivery System, So You Never Run Out!

Sunscreen tends to be an item we forget to stay stocked up on, only realizing we’ve run out when we need to use it. If you find yourself forgetting to replace your favorite sunblock, consider setting up an automated delivery system through an online store. You can typically choose how often you want your items delivered, such as every 6 weeks, and you won’t have to worry about making a special trip to the store.

Establish a Daily Routine Early in the Season

To get maximum benefit from the summer sun, it helps to establish a daily routine that lets you safely enjoy the season while participating in your favorite activities. For example, you may want to make it a habit to apply your first layer of sunscreen first thing in the morning while dressing and then take advantage of the coolest part of the day by going for a morning walk or visiting the putting green. In the afternoon, when the day hits its peak temperature, head indoors for an invigorating swim, or check out the monthly calendar to see what activities are on tap that day.

By setting up a predictable daily routine, you can enjoy the season to the fullest while staying indoors during the hottest part of the day.

Review Your Medications, and Watch for Any Side Effects

While seniors are already prone to overheating or sunburn, certain medications can further lead to heat intolerance and complications. For example, if you take blood pressure medications, you may have a higher risk of dehydration or overheating. Similarly, if you use certain types of antidepressants or overactive bladder treatments, your body may not be able to cool itself as effectively through sweating. In some cases, combinations of medications can increase your likelihood of experiencing a heat-related illness.

If you’re unsure how your medications affect your ability to adapt to temperature changes and stay cool in the heat, talk to your pharmacist or one of our caregivers to determine what to expect from your medication regimen.

Invest in Good Sunglasses

It’s not just your skin that needs a barrier from the intense summer sun; your eyes need protection as well. A good pair of sunglasses is an investment in your health, and the bigger the sunglasses, the more protection they provide.

Not only do sunglasses protect the delicate skin around your eyes, but they go a long way in shielding your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet light. Regular, unfiltered exposure to the sun puts eyes at a greater risk of cataract formation and vision loss. Wearing a good pair of sunglasses is an easy way to make your time outdoors more comfortable while protecting your vision. When shopping for sunglasses, look for pairs labeled as having broad-spectrum coverage or protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Eat Some Fruit-Infused Ice Cream!

It’s no secret that everyone loves our ice cream socials! When it comes to beating the heat, fruit-infused ice cream is a delightful treat that can cool you down quickly while giving you a hydration boost. Celebrate the season by looking for fresh flavors, such as strawberry and peach, or try making ice cream yourself. Not only does this frozen dessert provide energy in the form of protein and carbohydrates, but the fruit-infused varieties contain vitamins, including A, B, D and E, making this a great treat to enjoy in moderation.

Eat Healthy

A healthy diet is essential for optimal health year-round, but it’s especially key during the summer when temperatures are high. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is a simple way to boost hydration, and the fiber in them aids in digestion. If your doctor has told you to minimize salt intake, experiment with other seasonings and seasoning blends (remember to check the ingredient list for added salt). Do your best to eat a varied diet with recommended amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Learn About Our Wellness Approach

At Aberdeen Village, our residents’ year-round wellness is important to us. Learn more about our holistic approach to wellness here to find out how we support our residents’ quality of life.

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