Stay Cool: Summer Safety Tips for Older Adults

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Home Instead Senior Care offers advice on how to beat the heat and stay safe as temperatures rise

Summer is officially here, bringing with it lots of barbeques, gardening and other outdoor adventures with loved ones. While warmer weather and summer activities can be enjoyable, there are precautions that should be considered when spending extended periods of time in the heat.

“Older adults should absolutely take advantage of the pleasant weather summer has to offer. It’s the perfect time of year to take a walk with a friend, attend a community event or even go on a trip with loved ones,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead Senior Care. “However, too much time in the sun can put seniors at risk for a number of complications, including heat stroke and dehydration.”

Everyone can benefit from spending time outdoors, but for older adults prolonged heat exposure can be dangerous. According to the National Institutes of Health, as we age, our bodies lose the ability to adequately respond to heat. As a result, older adults can experience an increased risk of developing serious health problems such as hyperthermia, a group of heat-related conditions characterized by an abnormally high body temperature.

Home Instead recommends the following tips to help keep older adults safe this summer.

  • Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water when spending an extended period of time outdoors. While the recommended serving is 6-8 cups of water a day, increase intake if an activity requires above average time in the sun to avoid dehydration.
  • Take Breaks. Be cognizant of the needs of your loved ones. If they experience difficulty walking long distances, be sure to take occasional breaks in the shade to avoid overheating and fatigue.
  • Carry and properly store medication. Before leaving the house, remember to pack all necessary medications you may need for a day of fun in the sun. Keep in mind that some medications don’t mix well with sun exposure, and may need to be approved by a physician to ensure prolonged outdoor activities are safe.
  • Dress accordingly. Experts suggest wearing loose fitting, light colored clothing when dressing for the outdoors. It’s also important to regularly apply a sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher. A sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays is ideal.
  • Know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses. People 65 and older are more prone to heat-related health problems. These illnesses can include heat strokes, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rashes. While these symptoms can range from mild to severe, if you notice someone experiencing signs associated with heat stroke, call 911 immediately.    

For more information on summer safety tips for seniors, visit


Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 70 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 11 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 80,000 CAREGivers worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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