It’s fun to keep cool in the water when the temperatures rise in the summer months. Elderly adults often enjoy accompanying family members and friends to the beach. When aging adults are physically or cognitively dependent on a family caregiver or elder care provider, they are certainly going to need some additional support so that they can have a good time without harming their health.
Here are 5 things that family caregivers and elder care providers need to think about when they accompany an elderly adult to the beach…
1. Temperature Extremes
Elderly adults have difficulty regulating their body temperature, whether it’s hot or cold. Heading to the beach could bring both extremes into play. The sun and sand can cause an aging person’s body temperature to rise, and often their sweat glands don’t work very efficiently. The result could be heat stress or heat stroke. Conversely, the water could be very cold, sapping their body of internal warmth.
2. UV Rays
With age, the skin begins to thin out and can burn very easily. That’s why it’s so important for family caregivers and elder care providers to keep them covered in strong sunscreen. They need a sunscreen that ranges from 30 to 50 SPF and it should be reapplied every three hours. If the elderly person is going into the water, the sunscreen needs to be reapplied every hour.
It’s so much fun to play in the ocean, but elderly people should not go into any bodies of water with strong waves, a strong current or an uneven bottom. Most seniors, especially those who are dependent on a family caregiver or elder care provider, simply don’t have the physical strength and balance to stay safe in the water. With support, seniors might be able to dip their toes in or wade up to their ankles in calm waters, but the dangers are too real for elderly adults in the ocean.
It’s difficult for an older body to retain body fluids very well, so it becomes very easy for seniors to become dehydrated. Also, many seniors lose their ability to sense thirst, so they often don’t reach for water when they need it. Family caregivers and elder care providers that take seniors to the beach always need to provide water, such as in a water bottle. They also need to encourage the elderly adult to take frequent sips throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Even if the elderly adult claims that they can stay at the beach all day long, family caregivers and elder care providers should consider the senior’s physical and mental abilities. It’s easy for aging adults to tire out with moderate activity, and overstimulation can trigger an onset of cognitive decline.
There’s no reason that an elderly adult can’t go to the beach for a family outing, as long as family caregivers and elder care providers take every precaution and make plans for maximum care and comfort. Spending a day at the beach can be extremely enjoyable for seniors and fill them with fun family memories, as long as those around them take good care of them.