Summer is right around the corner! For many, this is the best part of the year when you can enjoy more time outside and soak up the sun. It’s important to keep in mind that for our senior population, the summer can pose some serious health risks and precautions should be taken. And aside from physical health concerns, the summer months can be equally as lonely or isolating as the rest of the year, especially for those who don’t have regular interaction from loved ones. Take a look at a few of our top tips for helping seniors stay healthy in the summer – and consider using some of these ideas to take care of your own aging loved one.
Do something active daily.
During the summer months, the weather is warm and the days are long so it may seem like an easy time to stay active. But for our aging seniors, the increased risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, combined with any other health limitations can make it difficult to get out of the house and find something active to do daily. The good news is even a little movement every day is better than none at all. Some great options for summer activities include walking, stretching, yoga, and even seated exercises with light weights. Check with your local gyms and community centers to see if they offer in-person or virtual workout programs for seniors. Programs like Silver Sneakers may be available at little to no cost and will also provide a social component which is a bonus.
Get fresh air.
As the weather allows, open the windows and doors and allow fresh air to come in. This is great for air circulation and can offer some natural cooling of the house if you open the windows at night or in the early morning. You can also get fresh air by sitting outside, walking, or getting out to a park. Fresh air can boost your immune system and provide an emotional boost as well. When you’re out in nature you’re more likely to take in the sights and sounds of the season, like the blue sky, birds and other animals, as well as other people.
Find mentally stimulating activities.
In addition to physical activity, it’s important for our seniors to find mentally stimulating activities to strengthen their mind and memory. There are so many options including the traditional word searches and puzzles, as well as more tech savvy tools like phone apps that offer a myriad of mind-challenging games. This isn’t only important in the summer; it’s important year-round which is why seniors should continue their mental activities during this season as well.
Stay cool and hydrated during peak sunlight hours.
And finally, staying cool and hydrated during peak heat and sunlight hours is critically important during the summer for our seniors. Between the hours of 10am and 2pm tends to be when the sun is strongest. Temperatures can soar during these hours and too much time spent outside can result in fatigue, dehydration, or heat exhaustion/stroke. Aging adults are particularly susceptible to these effects of the heat and sun, so they should limit the time they spend outside when it’s hottest. Instead, opt for indoor activities, especially in air conditioned spaces. And time your outdoor activities for early in the morning or after the sun has gone down.
How do you plan to stay healthy and active this summer? Do you have another tip to add to this list, especially for our senior adults? Share your ideas by leaving a comment.