You may have noted the enthusiasm about the weather in some of our most recent blogs. It’s hard not to get excited about warmer weather when so many of us spend months huddled up behind closed doors or bundled up in winter gear so that we can trudge through snow just to get our groceries. We won’t apologize for being partial to summertime and we’re pretty confident you love it too – after all, what’s not to love? With that said however, while summer certainly presents some great opportunities to get outdoors and to live life in technicolour, there are ways to do so safely which is why we’re talking about summer safety this month. As seniors, sometimes we have to be just a little more careful than we may have been back in our teens!

Protect Yourself – Five Tips For Staying Safe In Summer


Sunscreen, hats and long, loose or layered clothing.

  • These tips might seem obvious but they are easy to forget and sometimes we just get lazy about slathering on the sunscreen. It takes time to do it after all, or maybe you didn’t think you’d be out in the sun for too long so you didn’t bother. The truth is, just 15 to 25 minutes of sun can burn unprotected skin. The risk of continued unprotected exposure to the sun can have long term damaging effects including the increase in risk of skin cancer. What many folks don’t realize is that the best time to put on sunscreen is in the morning, after you have showered. Allowing sunscreen to really soak in (and then reapplying as necessary throughout the day) gives much better protection that slapping it on quickly just as you head out the door. So keep your sunscreen handy in the bathroom and perhaps another bottle near the front or back door!
  • Wearing a hat to protect your scalp also acts as a natural barrier and may help to prevent feelings of light-headedness from too much sun.
  • Finally, long, loose and layered clothing will help to keep you cool and protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. You can layer up, or remove layers as necessary throughout the day.

Drink plenty of fluids, water for hydration and consider electrolytes.

  • Hydration is critical in the summer time and it’s something that many people don’t often think about, regardless of age. That said, as we get older, hydration takes on more importance.
  • The real trick to staying hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and before you feel thirsty. In fact, if you feel thirsty it’s a sure sign you may already be experiencing early signs of dehydration. Keep a glass of water nearby, refill with ice occasionally and sip from it all day long.
  • Don’t worry about the “8 glasses of water” rule – just keep refilling the glass and sip slowly as you go about your normal routine.
  • Change it up with other hydrating liquids once in awhile and consider adding some electrolytes to quench your thirst. Fruit juices, coconut water and drinks infused with electrolytes are good sources. Remember tea and coffee, while enjoyable, can act as a diuretic so enjoy them in moderation

Set the AC to a reasonable temperature or strategic use of fans.

  • Keeping everything at a set temperature will avoid overtaxing your system and will allow your body to adjust comfortably between indoor and outdoor temperatures. Find the temperature that works best for you and then keep it there!
  • Extreme swings, such as 90 degrees outside and keeping the AC at 68, aren’t good for us so moderation is the key.
  • You might also consider keeping the blinds closed during the heat of the day (between 11am – 2pm) to help keep your home cool without adding extra stress to the AC unit. If you are relying on fans, this is especially helpful.

Protein, Fruits and Veggies and avoid salt!

  • Protein is always good of course and helps to fuel the body as a healthy source of the energy that gives you your “get up and go!” White, lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy and even peanut butter are all good sources of protein.
  • Fruits will give you an instant and natural energy boost and bananas in particular are great for providing potassium (something some older adults struggle to maintain) as well as other important vitamins and nutrients.
  • As for salt, it can cause bloating and swelling and it increases your risk of high blood pressure so it’s just a good idea to avoid it generally but in the summer you might already be experiencing swelling just from the heat so avoiding salt makes sense.

Venture out in the AM and PM – at midday take a break.

  • By no means do we want to discourage you from enjoying the great outdoors. Like we said in our opening paragraph, we hunker down all winter and look forward to the summer sun. We just want to help you enjoy it safely. If summer heat is something that causes you a little bit of stress, consider venturing out in the early mornings and later afternoon when the sun is not at its strongest.
  • Take frequent breaks (particularly if gardening, playing tennis or otherwise engaging in strenuous activities) and sit in the shade, on a patio under an umbrella or enjoy your lunch inside to keep cool.

If you don’t have access to reliable air conditioning or your area is experiencing an extreme heat alert, remember too that many communities offer cooling stations at local recreation centres, the town hall or you can visit municipal service locations like your town library for respite from the heat. Goshenite Senior Services provides a variety of comfort care services including drivers who can drive and/or accompany you to locations around town and we also offer companion services if you are looking for someone to keep you company whether that’s at home, in the garden or out on a walk. Our companion services include friendly check ins, light housekeeping and personal supports in bathing, at mealtimes and other assistance as required. If you’d like to finally get outside and enjoy the fresh air and the summer heat – safely – consider a call to Goshenite and we’ll ensure you enjoy the beautiful warm weather all summer long.