As the warm summer months approach, it’s important for seniors to take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy. At Orchard Gardens we are committed to ensuring our residents enjoy a comfortable and secure environment during the summer months. We want to provide our seniors with some essential summer safety tips to avoid heat-related illnesses, helping them enjoy and stay safe during the warm months this summer. 

Staying Hydrated

Importance of Hydration

One of the most crucial aspects of summer safety is staying hydrated. Staying hydrated is vital for seniors, as their bodies undergo changes that affect hydration levels and the perception of thirst. At Orchard Gardens, we emphasize the importance of hydration to ensure our residents remain healthy and vibrant, especially during the hot summer months. 

Seniors often have a diminished sense of thirst and reduced kidney function, which makes them more susceptible to dehydration. Additionally, medications and certain medical conditions can affect hydration levels. Proper hydration supports muscle function, cognitive health, digestion, and temperature regulation, all essential for maintaining overall well-being. 

Dehydration can lead to severe health issues such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and heat-related illnesses. Therefore, encouraging seniors to drink water regularly, especially during the hot summer months, is vital for their health and quality of life.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

vrs seniors
  • Drink Plenty of Water: Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day. At Orchard Gardens, we encourage our residents to keep a water bottle with them at all times.
  • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Both substances can lead to increased dehydration. Opt for water or herbal teas instead.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Including a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet that are high in water content is an excellent way to stay hydrated. Some great summer fruit and vegetable options include: cucumbers, zucchini, watermelons, lettuce, broccoli.
  • Try adding freshly cut citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, or oranges, into your water to help stay hydrated and make your water more interesting.

Dressing for the Weather

Choosing the Right Clothing

What seniors wear can significantly impact how comfortable and safe they feel during the summer. By dressing appropriately for the weather, seniors are more likely to stay comfortable and avoid heat-related health issues. At Orchard Gardens, we encourage our residents to follow these guidelines to ensure they are properly dressed for the hot weather. 

  • Lightweight, Breathable Fabrics: Opt for clothing made from natural fibers like cotton and linen to allow the skin to breathe and keep the body cool.
  • Light Colors: Wear light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption.
  • Loose-Fitting Clothes: Choose loose-fitting garments to enhance air circulation and prevent overheating.
  • Wide-Brimmed Hats: Always wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield the face, neck, and ears from direct sunlight.
  • Sunglasses: Protect eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Select comfortable, supportive shoes to prevent falls and ensure stability during outdoor activities.
  • Layering: Bring a lightweight jacket or sweater for cooler indoor environments or evening breezes.

By following these tips, seniors can stay safe, cool, and comfortable while enjoying their summer activities.

Avoiding Peak Sun Hours

It’s important to understand the peak hours of the sun. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. During these hours, seniors should limit outdoor activities to prevent overheating and sunburn.

Tips for Safe Outdoor Activities

  • Plan Early or Late: Schedule outdoor activities in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Seek Shade: If you must be outside during peak hours, stay in shaded areas as much as possible.
  • Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours. 
  • Use your phone or look at the local newspaper to review the weather forecast, and be aware of any days that are predicted to be particularly hot out.

Utilizing Indoor Spaces and Keeping Cool Indoors

Staying cool indoors is just as important as staying hydrated and protected outside.

  • Air Conditioning: Make use of air-conditioned spaces. At Orchard Gardens, we ensure that common areas and apartments are kept at a comfortable temperature.
  • Fans: Use fans to circulate air and create a cooling breeze.
  • Cool Showers and Baths: Take cool showers or baths to lower body temperature.

Monitoring Health Conditions

Recognizing Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

Understanding the signs of heat-related illnesses can help prevent serious health issues.

  • Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, nausea, and fainting.
  • Heat Stroke: Symptoms include a high body temperature (above 103°F), hot, red, dry, or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Regular Health Checks

  • Stay Connected: Regularly check in with family members, friends, or caregivers, especially during heatwaves.
  • Medical Consultations: Keep regular appointments with healthcare providers to manage any existing health conditions.

Enjoying Outdoor Activities Safely

summer safety senior exercise

Organized Group Activities

Participating in group activities is a great way to stay social and active while ensuring safety.

  • Morning Walks: Join morning walking groups to enjoy the cooler part of the day. Many of our VRS Communities have organised walking groups, which you can find out more information such as dates and times, on our Facebook page or events page. 
  • Garden Clubs: Engage in gardening activities early in the day to avoid peak heat.
  • Outdoor Yoga: Participate in outdoor yoga classes designed for seniors, held in shaded areas.

Personal Safety Measures

  • Buddy System: Always go out with a friend or family member.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts easily accessible. We suggest either writing names and numbers down on a piece of paper and keeping this in your wallet, or keep it as a note on your phone, preferably stored somewhere that will be easy to access.
seniors at vrs

Using Community Resources

Leveraging VRS Amenities

At VRS Communities, we offer numerous amenities to help our residents stay cool and safe during the summer.

  • Cooling Centers: Designated areas in the community where residents can relax in air-conditioned comfort. Oftentimes, local community recreation centres offer themselves as cooling centres especially during heat waves. Head down with a friend and stay cool and social! 
  • Hydration Stations: Easily accessible water stations throughout the community.
  • Scheduled Activities: Organized activities planned during cooler parts of the day to encourage participation without the risk of overheating.

Summer can be a wonderful time of year, filled with opportunities for outdoor fun and social activities. By following these summer safety tips, seniors can stay healthy and enjoy all that the season has to offer. At Orchard Gardens, we are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our residents. If you are interested in learning more about our community or scheduling a tour, please contact us today.

Book a tour at our Retirement Home in Kelowna today to see firsthand how we prioritize the safety and well-being of our residents during the summer months. Contact us at 250.979.0600 or visit our website to schedule your visit.