Spring is a wonderful time of year. The warmer weather and longer days encourage people of all ages to venture outdoors. However, for seniors, going outside can come with some risks. Aging can cause physical and cognitive changes that may make outdoor activities more challenging or dangerous. As such, it is essential to take steps to keep seniors safe as they enjoy the outdoors this spring.
Here are seven tips for seniors to have safe outdoor experiences during spring:
1. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is crucial for a safe outdoor experience. For seniors, comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing is essential. Layers of clothing are best, so they can easily adjust to changes in temperature. Seniors should also wear comfortable, sturdy footwear with good traction to prevent slips and falls.
2. Apply sunscreen and wear hats.
Seniors are at a higher risk of skin damage and skin cancer due to age-related changes in the skin. Applying sunscreen and wearing hats can protect them from the sun’s harmful rays. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be applied 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours. Hats should provide shade for the face, ears, and neck.
3. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is essential for seniors when they are outdoors, especially in warm weather. Dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion and other health issues. Seniors should carry water bottles with them and drink water regularly, even if they do not feel thirsty.
4. Plan outdoor activities.
Planning outdoor activities can help seniors avoid exhaustion and other health issues. Seniors should plan their outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. They should also pace themselves and take breaks when needed. If they have any health conditions, they should discuss their plans with their doctors to ensure that they are safe to engage in outdoor activities.
5. Carry a mobile phone.
Staying connected with family and friends can help seniors stay safe outdoors. Seniors should carry their mobile phones with them and ensure that they are fully charged. They should also let someone know where they are going and when they plan to return. If they are going out alone, they should inform someone of their plans.
6. Be aware of surroundings.
Seniors should be aware of their surroundings when they are outdoors. They should avoid walking on uneven surfaces, be cautious on stairs or slopes. As well, older adults should watch out for obstacles such as rocks or roots. They should also be mindful of their surroundings and avoid any areas that may pose a risk.
7. Install a porch lift.
A home porch lift (or vertical platform lift) is an indoor or outdoor residential elevating lift. It provides efficient and easy access to a raised deck, porch or even steps within your home. A porch lift helps individuals with rollators, wheelchairs and/or scooters to easily access these sometimes hard to manoeuvre areas. A porch lift is an excellent option to access the community from your home to get to important medical appointments and so on.