Summer means we can all get excited about relaxing in the sun and engaging in some of our favorite outdoor activities. However, with the extra sunlight, high temperatures and humidity come added health concerns -- especially for at-risk groups like seniors.
The statistics bear this out: A CDC study found that adults aged 65 and over accounted for 36 percent of heat-related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2010, while another study done by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that a mere 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature increases death rates in elderly people with a chronic health condition. When it comes to the health risks posed by summer heat, seniors are the most vulnerable.
With these facts in mind, it’s important for older adults to take extra care in how they conduct themselves outdoors under the summer sun. Family members and caregivers must take heed as well, as seniors may not feel the effects heat-related illness coming on before it’s too late. The best approach is to follow precautionary measures to mitigate the effects of harsh heat rather than wait for the body to tell you it’s time to go inside for a rest. That warning may not come: heat stroke can be sudden and unexpected.
Fortunately, there are simple tips to follow in order to avoid disaster and enjoy the summertime without worry. We want our elderly friends and relatives to live their lives to the fullest, and staying safe in the sun is the best way to make that happen.