As winter draws to a close with the first buds of spring beginning to spread their petals and the days growing longer, the re-emerging sun beckons us outdoors once again. This magical time of year breathes new energy and joy into our lives as it portends to the coming long days and warmth of summer. But as you and your loved one prepare to venture out, we hope the following precautions will help you enjoy the wonderfully warm weather while helping maintain the safety of the senior in your life.
Medication & Sunshine
It’s important to be aware of any medications your loved one is taking that might lead them to experience photosensitivity. As a side effect to some medications, photosensitivity means too much direct exposure to sunlight could lead to hives, a rash, or an extremely painful sunburn. If your loved one is taking such a medication, be sure to apply extra sunscreen and help them don a wide brim hat as well as long sleeves and pants.
Overheating & Dehydration
As people get older, their bodies can lose the ability to sense and respond to changes in temperature like when they were younger. As a result, they become overheated quicker and it can occur without them even knowing it. In addition, a natural decrease in thirst means that when your loved one actually feels thirsty they may already be dehydrated. Combined, these effects of aging increase your loved one’s risk of confusion, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or worse. Help protect them by planning activities in the shade, following the dress code in the previous tip, and encouraging them to drink plenty of water or juice, even if they aren’t thirsty.
When we first begin making our way into the cool spring air, the excitement of breathing in the fresh, blossom-kissed breeze can momentarily distract us from the uneven ground surfaces we grew to know so well before winter. And that can be all it takes to send us tumbling to the ground. Unfortunately, some seniors may have more difficulty navigating uneven surfaces, making it easier for them to trip and fall. In addition, their thin skin and fragile bones make the effects of falling much more detrimental. For a senior who experiences a fall, the fear of falling again can also have negative effects, possibly leading to less physical activity, depression, or social isolation. Help your loved one avoid these negative outcomes by making sure you both are aware of your walking surface, your loved one is outfitted with the proper footwear, and ensuring your senior is using their cane or walker, if necessary. Don’t forget to take note of medications that could cause dizziness and make sure your loved one has regular vision and hearing checks.
By following these three tips, you and your loved one can experience all the joys of spring with less worry. For more advice on senior safety, visit our Senior Living Management blog.