Everyone loves to celebrate July 4th, because it’s the one time of the year that we all actually honor our country and the things it has achieved in its 250 years of existence. Seniors should not be excluded from these celebrations, because they share the same heritage that all Americans do, and many of them are just as patriotic as fervent young people. However, some precautions may need to be taken to ensure that seniors can enjoy the festivities in a safe and comfortable manner. This article will discuss some of the steps that families should take to safeguard the welfare of elderly loved ones, so their enjoyment of July 4th can be as keen as their younger counterparts.
Keep your senior hydrated
In the excitement of parades and other activities, it’s very easy to overlook the fact that a senior can quickly become dehydrated, especially if they’re spending a great deal of time in the sun. Unfortunately, seniors are generally affected by dehydration much faster than younger individuals would be, and they may not personally be able to replenish needed fluid supplies. You can avoid any issues by bringing drinks with you to the parade or picnic, and ensuring that your senior loved one periodically consumes some liquid. If there are food/snack vendors at your event, you can purchase some popsicles or snow cones for your senior, since these are largely liquid in nature.
Avoid excessive exposure to the sun
Going hand in hand with staying hydrated is avoiding too much exposure to the sun, and this is a situation that can quickly get out of hand for seniors. Older adults are particularly susceptible to getting sunstroke, heat exhaustion, sunburn, and even skin cancers. Much of the danger here can be eliminated by bringing along some powerful sunscreen to any event your family is attending. If the event will last for hours outdoors, it may also be necessary to re-apply the sunscreen on your elderly loved ones. Another way of beating the heat is to dress for the occasion. This calls for wearing some kind of headgear that will deflect the sun’s rays, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and wearing sunglasses that darken the intensity of the sunshine. If there are shady areas available, take advantage of them and let your senior relax out of the sun for a while. If possible, bring along a canopy or small tent to protect the elderly from brilliant sunshine.
Monitor pets of the elderly
Most people are unaware that more pets are lost on July 4th than at any other time of the year. If your elderly loved one owns a dog or cat, make sure the animal is cared for, regardless of any activities being undertaken by the rest of the family. Outdoor pets need to be secured in some fashion, so they can’t just wander the neighborhood. Indoor pets need food and water before everyone disappears for a day of celebrating. Keep in mind that the neighborhood will probably be much louder than usual, with fireworks and all kinds of celebrations and get-togethers in progress. That may be upsetting to some pets, so you may want to turn on the radio or the television to drown out some of the extra noise around the community. Many seniors are so attached to their pets, that they can’t really enjoy themselves unless they know their cat or dog is well provided for.
Prepare favorite foods
The All-American celebration at home often calls for cookouts of hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, chicken, corn, and a whole host of other classic foods that most seniors really appreciate. This shouldn’t be surprising, because seniors grew up loving these same staples that most people really enjoy at a celebration. This is a great time to prepare your senior’s favorite outdoor foods and to ask about any special requests for the day, for instance, some fresh watermelon or ice cream. If you can involve your senior in the food preparation, that will probably be very satisfying for them because they will feel like they’ve made a good contribution to the festivities.
Allow for rest breaks
If your family is attending a parade, keep in mind that standing for long periods of time can be quite taxing for seniors. This is especially true if no shade is available, and your senior is obliged to stand in bright sunshine for quite a while. For this reason, you should bring along some lightweight folding chairs that can be used to give family members a break from standing. Some cushions would also be a good idea since this will allow for greater comfort for your seniors. You should periodically check on your senior loved one to make sure he/she isn’t being overcome by the heat, humidity, and effort of standing in bright sunshine.
Be mindful of physical care
Make sure to take into account your senior loved one’s physical and emotional condition when you’re planning to attend any kind of July 4th celebration. For instance, if your senior has Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, it may be advisable to have someone remain at home with them, because many dementia patients are bothered by crowds and loud noises. They can still observe the holiday by watching fireworks displays on television or watching some entertainment on TV to celebrate the holiday. If your senior does accompany you to an event, make sure they’re provided with warmer clothing when the sun sets, and allow for rest periods throughout the day.