Gardening is a wonderful activity for seniors. It offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. However, spending time outdoors tending to plants and flowers during the hot summer months also comes with some potential risks. As a primary caregiver or concerned adult child, it's crucial to be aware of these hazards and take steps to keep your senior loved ones safe while they enjoy their favorite hobby. With some tips in mind, you will find it easier to encourage your loved one to remain safe and healthy while they enjoy their garden activities.
Encourage Protective Clothing
Wasp stings and allergies pose a significant risk to seniors while gardening. To reduce the risk of wasp stings or stings from other insects, seniors should wear protective clothing, such as gloves, long sleeves, and long pants. Additionally, opting for less fragrant plants or plants that don't attract as many insects can also help. Lastly, keeping the garden clean and free of food debris will deter wasps and other pests from making a home in the area.
Recommend Gardening Hours
Heat stroke is another serious concern for seniors spending time outdoors in the summer heat. It's best to garden during the day’s cooler hours, such as early morning or late afternoon, to lessen the chance of heat stroke. Seniors should also take frequent breaks in the shade and wear appropriate clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes to keep cool.
Discuss the Need for Sunscreen
Sunburns can harm seniors who often have more delicate skin. Applying sunscreen with a high SPF before heading out to the garden, and reapplying as needed, is crucial for protection. Wearing long sleeves and pants can also help shield the skin from harmful UV rays, and it's wise to seek shade when the sun is at its strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Ensure They Avoid Overexertion
Overexertion is a common problem for seniors engaging in physical activities like gardening. To avoid overdoing it, seniors should use ergonomic gardening tools that require less effort and reduce strain on joints and muscles. It's also important to know one's limits – taking breaks when needed and not pushing too hard. If seniors have more strenuous tasks, such as lifting heavy bags of soil or trimming tall hedges, they should consider asking for help from a caregiver, family member, or neighbor.
Provide Plenty of Water
Dehydration can be a serious issue for seniors, particularly during hot, sunny days in the garden. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential to staying hydrated. It's also a good idea to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate the body. Being aware of the signs of dehydration (dizziness, headache, confusion, or dark urine) will help seniors take action if they start to feel unwell.
Work With Senior Helpers Contra Costa
Keeping seniors safe while they enjoy gardening in the summer heat is critical to preserving their health and well-being. As caregivers and adult children, it's up to us to help them navigate these risks and ensure their gardening experience remains a positive and enjoyable one.
Senior Helpers Contra Costa serves Contra Costa, Oakland, San Ramon, Lafayette, and nearby communities. If you need assistance keeping your senior loved ones safe while gardening, then contact us today. Our professional and compassionate caregivers can support and guide your seniors to thrive in their favorite outdoor activities.