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July 6, 2021

How seniors in an active and social lifestyle retirement community can stay safe from the sun in the summer months

By: Country Meadows | Wellness

One of life’s pleasures is enjoying the great outdoors. And it is more than just fun in the sun. Science has proven the sun offers numerous health benefits for the human body. However, it also can be dangerous for seniors, even those living at active and social lifestyle retirement communities.

Some of the best retirement communities, including Country Meadows, offer safe opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors. From visiting local parks and walking trails to taking country rides to outdoor games and gatherings, active and social lifestyle retirement community life can guide residents to stay safe while enjoying nature.

Health benefits from the sun

Not only does sunlight contribute to the production of Vitamin D, which has been associated with better bone health, mood, and cognition, it also regulates secretion of melatonin which is associated with improved sleep quality and aids in cardiovascular health. But it also delivers many threats to our safety, especially for older adults in an active and social lifestyle retirement community.

Outdoor risks rise for older adults

There are many reasons why our risks outdoors rise as we age, whether or not you live at an active and social lifestyle retirement community. Seniors are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes the body’s response to heat. Many of these conditions require older adults to take prescription medications which may affect the body’s ability to control its temperature and may make a person more prone to sunburn. As we get older our bodies have a hard time responding to temperature swings in the weather.

Protecting against heat-related illnesses

Burning at approximately 10 million degrees on its surface, the sun’s rays deliver many hot days. Too much heat isn’t safe, especially if you are older or have health problems. It can bring on heat exhaustion, heat stroke or heat cramps. If you begin feeling too hot, find someplace to cool down or you may begin to feel confused and overstress your heart, risking severe consequences.

Residents at active and social lifestyle retirement communities, and all seniors, can lower risk of heat-related illnesses by:

  • Drinking plenty of liquids.
  • Keeping their active and social lifestyle retirement community apartment or personal house as cool as possible by using air conditioning, closing shades during the hottest part of the day, and limiting oven use.
  • Spending the afternoon in a cool place if an individual’s home does not have air conditioning.
  • Wearing loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Avoiding strenuous outdoor activities

Protecting skin

When today’s older adults were growing up, the benefits of sunscreen weren’t widely known. Today we know the importance of protecting skin from the sun, at every age, and staff at active and social lifestyle retirement communities recommend sunscreen during outdoor activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults don’t protect their skin from the sun. As a result, more than half of the deaths attributed to skin cancers are in people over the age of 65. According to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is on the rise among baby boomers, especially men.

It is critical that we apply sunscreen any time we are going to be outdoors, especially in our older years. Sun damage can happen fast; ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes. Experts recommend using an SPF 30 to 50. Click here to learn other factors to keep in mind when selecting and applying sunscreen.

Staying hydrated

Sixty percent of the human body is made up of water. Among its many benefits, water is critical as it regulates body temperature, cushions and protects vital organs, eliminates toxins and aids in digestion. Dehydration can occur at any time, especially over the summer. The most at-risk are older adults and the very young.

The best retirement communities offer numerous reminders and fun activities to prompt residents to up fluid intake. “Dehydration can put us all at risk for complications including death,” says Lisa Torchia, RN-Vice President of Clinical & Support Services for Country Meadows Retirement Communities, adding the first symptoms of dehydration include headache, confusion, tiredness, dry mouth, decrease in urine, dizziness and, ironically, lack of thirst. Click here to learn more about dehydration dangers.

Staff at active and social lifestyle retirement communities plan safe, outdoor retirement community activities and take steps to keep residents safe while enjoying fun in the sun.

Learn more about our active and social lifestyle retirement community

Country Meadows can help you or your older loved one enjoy the outdoors. Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus location in Frederick, Maryland. Often referred to as one of the best retirement communities in the area, we offer a wide range of services to serve a variety of resident needs. The services within our active and social lifestyle retirement communities include restorative care, rehabilitation, personal care and assisted living, memory support and independent living. If you or a loved one are beginning the retirement planning journey and would like more information about our active and social lifestyle retirement communities, please contact us today. Our co-workers can provide details on the services we offer, help you to schedule a tour of our active and social lifestyle retirement community and answer any other questions you might have.


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