The summer months mean fun activities like picnics are on the horizon. However, even a casual picnic can still pose a dangerous threat for seniors if certain precautions are not taken. Mississauga live-in care experts have a few suggestions to help keep your senior loved one safe during a summer picnic.
Protect the Skin and Eyes
As your loved one ages, his or her risk of skin cancer may increase. When you plan a picnic, be aware of the threat the sun poses to your loved one. Sunscreen can protect your loved one’s skin from the sun, especially if he or she plans to be outside for more than 15 minutes. However, he or she should apply the sunscreen at least one hour before going outside.
When exposed to the sun, seniors are also at a higher risk of developing cataracts, skin cancer around the eyes, and macular degeneration, which means wearing sunglasses at the picnic is a must. The darker the lens, the better protection your loved one will have. Sunglasses that wrap around the eyes block a high percentage of the sun’s UV rays.
Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
Around age 65, many seniors have been diagnosed with chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis. These conditions generally require seniors to take medication, which weakens their immune systems. As a result, your loved one could be more susceptible to contracting foodborne illnesses at a picnic. If your loved one is over 75, his or her immune system may be weakened regardless if he or she is taking medications for chronic illnesses. To prevent harmful bacteria from affecting your loved one’s health, make sure the food is cooked at the correct temperature and all food items are separated accordingly. Clean all of the foods and utensils, and do not allow your loved one to eat food that has been sitting outside longer than 2 hours.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Your loved one shouldn’t wait to drink until he or she is extremely thirsty or has participated in some form of physical activity. He or she should drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Keep drinks that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar out of your loved one’s reach because these beverages can cause him or her to lose more fluids during the extreme heat. Your loved one should avoid drinking only cold fluids as well because they can cause his or her stomach to cramp.
Know the Signs of Hyperthermia
To keep your loved one safe while at a summer picnic, you must also know the signs of a heat stroke and take immediate action if you notice any. Your loved one’s body has experienced natural changes over time, putting him or her at a higher risk of heat stroke during the summer months. Being outdoors could cause your loved one’s body to absorb more heat than it can dispel, leading to heat stroke, fatigue, or exhaustion.
Here are some signs the heat may be too much for your loved one to handle:
- Flushed face
- Rapid pulse
- High body temperature
Picnics are a wonderful opportunity to get seniors out of the house for some socialization and light physical activity. If your loved one needs help staying safe during picnics and other summer activities, turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of senior home care Mississauga seniors can rely on. To learn more, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200.