The 4th of July is right around the corner! That means it’s almost time to celebrate the birth of our great nation by sharing grilled food and patriotic fervor with our closest friends and family in the warm Summer air. While some traditional aspects of the 4th can pose potential health issues for seniors, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday well into your golden years! It may be tempting to fire that bottle rocket, spend all day in the sun, and eat more hot dogs than a competitive eater; but we encourage seniors to stay health conscious even on America’s birthday.
Senior Tips for a Happy 4th of July
1. Wear Sunscreen and Cover-Up – While this tip should really apply to everyone since skin cancer is a serious preventable issue for many Americans. Senior skin becomes more fragile with age, making it significantly faster to burn. Damage caused by sunburns is often worse in seniors as well, with an increased risk of blistering and long-term damage. As long as you remember to apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours when you are outdoors or riding in a car directly next to a window, you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen more often if you are sweating or swimming since even waterproof sunscreen can run off.
2. Stay Hydrated – No matter what state you live in, July is hot, and the 4th is typically celebrated outdoors. That means dehydration occurs even faster than usual, which can be a serious health concern for seniors. It should also be kept in mind that alcohol is not a viable source of hydration, as a matter of fact, has the opposite effect. So, keep a source of water nearby, and if you do decide to have an alcoholic beverage, balance it out with the same amount of water for each drink you have.
3. Eat Healthily – We have discussed at length the importance of maintaining a heart and mind healthy diet well into your golden years. Holidays are no exception to the rule that a great diet will equal great health. I’m not suggesting that you eat a head of lettuce for the 4th instead of traditional fares like hamburgers and hotdogs but try to eat within reason. It can be easy to get lost in snacking especially at a party, so be aware of how many trips you are taking to the chip bowl. Also, if you are buying the hotdogs try and find quality natural ones rather than the cheap, processed packages you often find on the bottom shelf.
4. Celebrate Responsibly – This tip is probably the most important thing to keep in mind for any 4th of July celebration, even if you aren’t a senior. The best way to celebrate the birth of our nation is without risking life and limb in the process. Practice safe and responsible firework use and avoid fireworks that can cause serious bodily harm.