Seniors: A little planning ahead will allow you to take care of yourself and stay safe while you enjoy your time outdoors throughout the spring and summer! Here are some tips on how to stay safe in the sun, while gardening and at the beach.
How Seniors can Stay Safe in the Sun
These tips apply whenever you'll be outside — whether gardening, at the beach or for other outdoor activities — so keep these in mind whenever you're out in the sun.
- Use sunscreen. ALWAYS use sunscreen to protect your skin when you're outdoors — even if it's cloudy. Use an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 to 50 and apply it liberally. Be sure to reapply every couple hours or sooner if you're in the water or perspiring. There are plenty of different sunscreens for you to be able to find one that suits your needs: Spray or lotion, and plenty of brands to choose from. Try a few to find one you like so you're sure to use it. And it's never too late to start using sunscreen if you haven't already been, so there's really no excuse.
- Drink plenty of water. Lemonade, soda, iced tea and coffee don't count! While lemonade has a lot of water, it also has a lot of sugar in it — as does soda and often iced tea — and too much sugar can contribute to dehydration. Instead, try some ice water with a couple lemons. Or, if you're looking for something fun, try some water infused with cucumbers, watermelon or both! Just toss a couple slices in your pitcher of water.
- Dress appropriately. Light colors, light fabrics, loose clothing and layers are ideal. Dark colors absorb the sun's hot rays, heavy fabrics can keep that heat in, tight clothing doesn't allow your body to breathe — and layers allow you to keep warm in the cool mornings or evenings with little effort to keep you cool when the sun heats you up.
How to Stay Safe When Gardening
Gardening can be fun and soothing, but it can also present issues for seniors with limited mobility issues and health conditions including arthritis, fibromyalgia and more, so use these tips to stay safe.
- Use a vertical garden or trellis. Not only do these add visual interest (search the internet for ideas for starting your own vertical garden!), but think of how much easier it will be to garden without having to bend over uncomfortably for hours on end. And if you have limited mobility, you can sit on a stool or your Hoveround power wheelchair to garden! As an added bonus, it won't take up as much yard space and it's easier to keep critters at bay.
- Stay out of the garden midday. The sun is at its hottest and most harmful point during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid those hours, particularly between noon and 2 p.m. Yes, that's a big chunk of the day, but doing your gardening in the early morning or evening keeps you cool and leaves you with the rest of the day to pursue other hobbies.
- Fall-proof the yard. Eliminate any potential fall hazards that you may have just been dealing with. Fix any uneven or broken cement, repair broken or loose steps, dig out tree roots and stumps, clean up rocks and debris. Add stair railings for support. Clear a path to places you need to go — including to your hose, shed, etc. Taking the time to prep for fall prevention
- Ask for help. Can't reach the trees to trim them? Need help planting or uprooting a large shrub? Need a couple big jobs done to fall-proof the yard? Ask for help! Enlist family members and friends who have an easier time completing those tasks — and not only will you get the job done safely, but you'll be spending quality time together! (Tip: Grandkids are great at plucking weeds so you don't have to bend over!)
- Have a cell phone and emergency kit handy. Be prepared for any emergency and have your cell phone on you at all times to call for help if needed. Keep your first aid kit and emergency stocked and ready to grab.
Stay Safe at the Beach
A day at the beach sounds fun, just be prepared and follow these tips to stay safe around the water and sand:
- Bring medications. Plan ahead for any possible scenario — including injury or just being out later than planned — and bring any medications with you that you could potentially need. A first aid kit can also be beneficial. Make sure it is beach-ready and has Band-aids (even liquid bandages to keep sand and beach water out), hydrocortisone cream, insect repellent, extra sunscreen, gauze, antiseptic spray or gel, etc.
- Use mobility devices. Items such as a Hoveround mobility scooter, which can be used on outdoor terrain (or even a special walking cane) can help you maneuver around much more safely.
- Only go in the water where lifeguards are present. The water may seem calm and peaceful, but there is always the possibility of a hidden danger or even a slip and fall or other medical emergency that may cause you injury. Stay where others are also in the water and make sure a lifeguard is within your line of vision at all times.
- Pay attention to what you're feeling. If you even feel the slightest bit dizzy or lethargic, alert someone in your party and get out of the sun. If you're feeling confused, nauseous, have an increased pulse or headache, seek medical attention immediately. Heat stroke is a very real condition that can hit you before you realize it from prolonged sun exposure.
Retain Your Independence with Hoveround
Don't let your limited mobility keep you from enjoying all the spring and summer have to offer! A Hoveround power wheelchair or mobility scooter can help you regain your mobility, so give us a call today at (800) 542-7236 to find out how!