Host a Senior Smart July 4th Picnic

Senior Picnic 06/26/2014

The July 4th holiday weekend is traditionally a time when several generations of families come together to enjoy a picnic and outdoor fun in honor of our nation’s birthday. If your gathering includes aging loved ones, these five tips can help make event planning for seniors a little easier.

5 Things to Consider When Planning Outdoor Activities with Seniors

1. Some medications commonly prescribed for seniors make them more sensitive to the sun. It can increase their risk for a variety of problems ranging from sun poisoning to sun stroke. This Sun Sensitive Medications list from WebMD can help you determine if one of your aging loved one’s medicines is putting them at risk.

2. Keep the sunscreen coming! A common mistake is not applying enough sunscreen, and failing to reapply it throughout the day. As we age, it is even more important to use sunscreen because our skin becomes thinner and more fragile. If your Independence Day celebration will last all day, remind senior loved ones and other guests to apply the equivalent of one shot glass of sunscreen every two hours. A fun way to encourage guests to do that is to set up a sunscreen station complete with bottles of sunscreen and shot glasses!

3. Make it easy for your guests, especially aging loved ones, to stay hydrated. Provide bottles or pitchers of cold water so guests remember to drink more water. You can also plan your menu so it incorporates foods with high water content. A few suggestions include watermelon, leafy salad greens, cucumber slices and strawberries.

4. Food choices can play an important role for older adults who live with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and more. When planning your holiday party menu, remember to keep those special diets in mind. Offer heart smart options that include a fresh vegetable tray, fresh fruit, lean poultry and healthy salads.

5. Know the warning signs of heat related illnesses in seniors. Recognizing the earliest symptoms that can indicate your aging loved one might be getting in to trouble is key to helping them receive treatment in time. For older adults, heat related illnesses may occur more quickly than they do in younger people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a quick tip sheet that can help you know the warning signs to look for during your outdoor celebration.

We hope these tips help you enjoy a safe and relaxing Independence Day with friends and loved ones!

Here's to Life.