As summer is upon us, so are thoughts of fun in the sun. However, when the weather gets warmer and vacations and outdoor activities are planned, seniors should also keep something else in mind: safety. It is important to make sure you are safe, so you can take part in all the fun you want with as little risk to your health as possible.
This year, Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill invited Angela Moore of Damsel in Defense, which works to promote safety for all ages, to educate residents and provide useful tips on how to stay safe in all temperatures.
Angela used the acronym “SENIOR”:
Situational awareness. It is important to stay alert.
Equipping yourself with protection, like pepper spray, when you are out.
“No” is what you should say to anyone who is in your personal space.
Identify any potential danger around you.
Own your safety. Be accountable for your own safety.
Reduce the risk of being a victim by following safety tips.
In addition, according to Angela and Dan White, director of safety and security, Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, here are five summer safety tips for seniors that will help keep you safe under the sun.
This is a must for all ages, but especially for seniors, as they do not conserve water as well. As a senior, you might not be able to tell as easily whether you are dehydrated. If you are taking a trip outside of the house for a walk or going on a day trip, make sure you bring water with you, because you can’t expect water to always be on hand.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
When you out in the sun, make sure to bring a few items to protect yourself from UV rays. Depending on how long you will be exposed to the sun, you should wear sunscreen, a hat and lightweight long sleeves and pants to protect your arms and legs. You will also want to protect your eyes from UV damage by wearing sunglasses.
Don’t Push Yourself
If you are tired, rest. If you are thirsty, by all means, drink. If are you feeling overheated, rest in a cool area, like an air-conditioned building. Trust your senses, and don’t ever push yourself farther than what is comfortable for you and your body. If is easy to brush off fatigue as less significant than what you are doing at the time. Make sure you make your health a priority.
Let People Know Where You Are Going
If you going on a trip outside the house, either by yourself or with another resident, it is important to make sure someone else knows where you are as a precaution. When you are planning the trip, let a family member or friend know where you are going and how to contact you in case they need to. Wherever you are, make sure you have a list of family and friend’s phone numbers on hand so you can reach them from anywhere.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Seniors are at high risk for heat stroke because their bodies stop adjusting as well to changes in temperature. The signs of an onset of heat stroke include headache, dizziness, dry skin, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, lack of sweating, muscle weakness and disorientation. You may not experience all these symptoms if you are suffering heat stroke, so if you are experiencing any of them, tell someone and seek medical attention.
With a few simple steps and precautions, you can enjoy a carefree summer!
About the Author: Holly Hendershot is a public relations associate at Masonic Villages and a senior at Waynesburg University