Memorial Day has come and gone, which means that the summer season is officially in full swing. This year, the season has a lot more meaning. After a spring filled with coronavirus, social distancing and sheltering in place, “summer” means the opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy the sunlight and even spend time with the people we care about.
“This summer, spending time with our loved ones may be even more meaningful than in previous years, but it also means that seniors will need to take extra precaution,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Even during normal situations, the summertime heat and sun can be dangerous to seniors if they don’t take proper precautions. Add the lingering worry of COVID-19, and this summer means a little extra diligence for seniors and their loved ones.”
Fortunately, staying safe in the summertime is easy, as long as you plan ahead and exercise common sense. Here are some of our top tips to help seniors and their caregivers have a safe and fun summer.
- Stay hydrated. Seniors become dehydrated more easily than younger people because their bodies don’t conserve water as well. At the same time, their sense of thirst can become deadened, so they aren’t always aware of when they are thirsty. Seniors also are more susceptible to temperature changes, so it’s very easy to become overheated. Be sure to carry water with you when you’re out and about, and be sure to drink water regularly. Caregivers may want to add fruit or cucumbers to a pitcher of water in the fridge to make the water more enticing to drink.
- Talk to the doctor. Certain medications become less effective if they are stored in higher temperatures, while other medications can cause seniors to become overheated more easily. Check with your doctor to make sure that you’re taking care of your body in the best possible way. The last thing you want is for your medical condition to flare up simply because the thermometer is rising.
- Stay cool. Obviously, staying inside in the air conditioning is one of the best ways to avoid getting overheated. If your home is air conditioned, you’re all set. If not, seniors and their caregivers should consider places that are air conditioned, like libraries and senior centers. Seniors should avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day if possible (usually between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), and if it can’t be avoided, they should stick to the shade and sip cool beverages in order to keep from getting overheated.
- Be prepared. Seniors are some of the most vulnerable individuals when it comes to contracting COVID-19. When you’re out and about, practice safe habits like remaining six feet away from other people, washing your hands regularly (or carry around a container of hand sanitizer) and wearing a disposable mask. You may wish to limit your activities and errands to the early morning hours or later in the evening, when fewer people will be out (and it will be cooler, too).
- Dress for the weather. Wearing the right type of clothes can play a big role in helping keep your summertime cool. Natural fabrics (like cotton or linen) are good choices during summertime, because they are cooler than synthetic fibers and can wick away sweat. Be sure to choose items that are light-colored and loose to maximize air flow. Paradoxically, seniors may find they’re cooler when they cover themselves up – think long, flowing sleeves instead of sleeveless shirts that leave your arms open to the burning sun. The important thing is to choose items that leave you feeling cool and comfortable.
- Shield yourself. Seniors will need to take extra steps to protect their skin (and eyes) from the sun. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly while you’re outdoors, and dress smartly in order to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Hats, sunglasses, long sleeves and long pants are all good options that will help keep UV rays off your body while keeping you as cool and comfortable as possible.
- Know the signs of hyperthermia. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion – scientifically known as hyperthermia – comes when body temperatures rise to an abnormal height. This can become life threatening, so it’s important to know the warning signs and understand what to do – and when it’s time to seek medical attention. If your loved one is sweating profusely, experiencing nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, weakness or headaches, get them into a cool place and get them to drink something cool. Once they’re more stable, call their doctor or go to the hospital. Call 911 immediately if your loved one suddenly stops sweating, has dry and flushed skin, heavy breathing and a rapid pulse or sudden personality changes.
- Steer clear of bugs. Summertime means outdoors, which means bugs. Seniors are particularly prone to diseases like West Nile Virus, so be sure to use a good mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of getting bit. Not only will it keep you safe, but it will also help you avoid sleepless, itchy nights.
- Get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors (smartly). Get out there and enjoy the nice weather – it’s the best time of year to get your blood pumping and your limbs moving. Whether you enjoy walking, gardening or any other activity, just be smart and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Be sure to drink plenty of water (more than usual) and pay attention to the time. Be sure to give yourself plenty of breaks and don’t push yourself if you feel like you’re fading.
- Have fun. Enough said. Get out there, be safe and enjoy the summer. You’ve definitely earned it.
For more information about summer safety tips or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.
Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care
The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.
Offering Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.
Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.
At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.
For more information, contact us today.