With summer approaching, Activity Directors are planning outdoor activities to take advantage of the sunshine and residents are eager to spend their leisure time outdoors.
However, it’s important activity professionals be prepared for the potential dangers warmer weather poses for our residents.
There is an increased risk of UTI’s due to dehydration, heat sickness, sensitivity to sunlight due to medication, as well as an increased susceptibility to heatstroke due to age and health. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the odds of developing skin cancer rise as you age.
KNOW THE SIGNS
What We Can Do:
Ensure programs have opportunities to offer cold beverages
Have “indoor alternative” activities
Give residents opportunities for breaks or to go back inside at some during your program
Be made aware of residents with sun-related sensitivities
Have plenty of sun screen (AARP suggests an SPF between 30 and 50 for seniors) available
Take note of the early signs of heat-related symptoms.
Although nursing has an active role in ensuring our senior’s safety, it is up to every department and team member to take preventive measures that keep our residents safe. Staff should be educated to lookout for signs of heat exhaustion and stroke advised by the CDC.
Check out My Activity Resources for lots of summer programs!
At the beginning of the season, make sure to check the air conditioning on your buses. You wouldn’t want to have a trip planned for a 90-degree day only to find out the morning of, that the air isn’t working.
If your away from your facility (outdoor picnic, local baseball game, etc) make sure to check ahead of time that there are designated shaded areas or offer opportunities for residents to be able to go indoors at points throughout the activity.
MORE TIPS AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
Keep air condition on a cooler setting as much as possible.
Have residents drink more water than usual.
Keep cool cloths available during outdoor programs. Cloths kept in ice water would be great for residents whom are feeling warmer to put across their necks to help cool off.
Ensure residents are wearing looser fitting, light colored clothing as darker colors attract heat.
Do not schedule more strenuous activities such as sporting programs outdoors.