Help Seniors Enjoy the Great Outdoors Safely

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posted by Ted Ryan on May 28, 2015

It’s summer in St. Louis – the time of year many seniors enjoy sitting on the porch, taking leisurely strolls or getting back in the garden.

These are great activities for boosting a seniors’ health and overall outlook, but there are extra precautions that should be made before heading outdoors. These often apply to people of all ages, but for the elderly their importance and consequences are more serious.

The Sun

No surprise here. Too much time in the sun is harmful to the body, especially for a frail senior. Additionally, seniors may be at risk of increased sun sensitivity due to medications, which can cause hives, rash and extreme sunburn.

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.
  • Apply plenty of sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Carefully read your loved one’s prescription labels to learn of increased risk.
  • Avoid being outside between 10:00am and 4:00pm, when the sun is strongest.


Seniors are less able to adjust to changes in temperature or detect warning signs of extreme heat. As our bodies age, we lose the ability to conserve water and become less aware of our thirst. As a result, the elderly are also more susceptible to dehydration.

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Pack water for long drives or walks.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing and a sun hat.
  • Stay in the shade when possible.
  • Avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Know the warning signs of hyperthermia.

Walking Conditions

Walks are a good way to stay fit and enjoy a change of scenery. They’re also an injury risk if you’re not careful.

  • Wear properly fitting footwear with good support and traction.
  • If going for a nature walk, stick to paved and maintained trails. For example, Kirkwood’s Powder Valley offers three paved trails, one of which is handicapped accessible.
  • If necessary, use a walking stick for help with balance.

Getting outside is a great way to stimulate your loved one’s senses. Don’t be afraid to wander into the great outdoors, just remember to be proactive.

If we can help, please contact us. Perhaps you are unable to help a parent get outside as much as they’d like to, or perhaps it’s too hard to assist a loved one and keep an eye on the kids at the same time. The help of a trained, professional caregiver could be the key to a happy outing for everyone. 

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