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From opening those windows to catching a breeze to gardening and going for walks, Colorado’s summer months offer a chance for us to get out and enjoy the weather. However you choose to spend your summer season, it is also important to remember to stay safe. Aging adults should take special care when reintroducing summer activities.
Keeping a few safety tips in mind can prevent falls and other accidents and ensure a fun-filled and injury-free season.
1. Wear sturdy and secure shoes that tie.
In the summer, many people choose to wear sandals or flip-flops. However, for aging individuals, these summer-type shoes can be a tripping hazard. As people age, they often lose feeling in their feet and toes. If a senior trips and stubs a toe, he/she may not immediately feel it or know the extent of the injury, which could cause prolonged damage if not treated properly.
2. Avoid hazards in the home that can cause falls.
Among people age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injuries and hospital admissions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is reported that each year one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.
To avoid falls, the following tips are important, no matter the season.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Remove all throw rugs.
- Remove and avoid using extension cords in the home or outside.
- Use the highest wattage light bulbs possible in all fixtures and be sure they are working. Do not use frosted light bulbs, as they create shadows and make it harder to see potential tripping hazards.
- Install railings on both sides of staircases inside and outside. Also, ensure existing railings are safe and secure.
- In bathrooms, use non-skid mats in the showers and tubs; consider installing handrails and tub chairs to help with safety and functioning.
Drinking water is essential in every season, especially in the summer. As we get older, our thirst for water changes. The less water seniors drink the less thirsty they become. This leaves seniors open to the risk of serious dehydration and other complications. For seniors, dehydration is one of the top reasons for hospital visits during the summer. Six to eight glasses of water a day is recommended. Keep in mind that coffee, tea and alcohol dehydrate the system. For every cup of coffee or glass of wine consumed, you should drink two glasses of water.
4. Keep the temperature in your home at 76 degrees.
Seniors can often feel cold, even when the temperature reaches 85 degrees or higher. This is because as we get older our bodies have a harder time gauging internal body temperature. As a result, seniors are at increased risk for heat-related illnesses during the summer. To avoid this, the temperature in your house should be kept at 76 degrees and should never exceed 80 degrees.
Concerned about the cost of cooling your home? Your health is worth every penny. Running air conditioning or fans to keep your home cool doesn’t cost as much as a trip to the emergency room due to heat-related illness. Resources are also available for seniors who need them. For example, local chapters of the American Red Cross often give out free box fans during the summer months.