Summer safety for our elder parents and even us!

Most of us look forward to summer. Those who can often take vacation during this season, and many families use it for opportunities to visit their loved ones especially if they are far away from where we live year round.

For those who can, summer is often a time of recreational outdoor activities which may include long walks, swimming, going to beaches and such activities as cycling. Of interest is the fact that with the expansion of the older population many what have been referred to as seniors or elders are now actively involved in physical activities including those outdoors.

So with that in mind here are a few tips to keep safe over the summer months.  First of all there is issue of BBQs which are very popular pastimes for summer eating. It is nice way for families to enjoy time together. We have now learned a very important lesson, especially when grilling chicken and meat patties (burgers) but true of all meats in general. They must be well grilled, if possible using a thermometer and make sure that the centre of the meat is cooked as well. Do not leave food sitting out un-refrigerated or chilled while waiting to BBQ. Do not let the juices of the meet sit on a board or plate where other food will then be transferred. Do not reheat meat that has been allowed to cool and sit around for a while. If you are making mayonnaise salads like potato salad do not let it sit around in the warm air for any prolonged period; use right from the cooler or frig to the table.

I am amazed that I often see seniors cycling wearing sun hats to protect themselves from the sun, but not cycle helmets to protect their very vulnerable heads and brains from a concussion from an unexpected cycling mishap which can happen very easily. Sun protection is fine, with sun screen and wide-brimmed hats, but when it comes to head protection the helmet supersedes the hat on the head but a long shot. 

Ask for the rest—good sensible choices are the first order of business. For long walk good supportive walking shoes.  Make sure you and your aging parents are adequately hydrated if it is a hot day. Wear sunglasses to decrease the glare in your eyes and a sunhat to protect your head and decrease the risk of heat exposure. Lastly, if it is a very hot and humid day, limit outdoor exposure and make sure there is time in the shade. If for some reason the place where you or your aging loved ones is likely to become very hot, find a place to stay with friends or relatives for a few days to avoid the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Enjoy the summer; safely!


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