Summer is a beautiful time for seniors to get outside and enjoy the benefits of fresh air and exercise. But as seniors in New York know all too well, summer is also a prime time for mosquitoes, ticks, wasps, and other flying pests. Seniors who have weakened immune systems, complex health conditions, or who take certain medications can be more susceptible to illnesses caused by common insects.
But it would be a shame to stay indoors and not enjoy the warmth and sunshine of the season! So, here are some ways that seniors can protect themselves while outdoors in the yard, around the neighborhood, and at local parks.
Place Bug-Repelling Plants in Your Yard
Did you know that many plants have natural insect repellant properties that keep bugs away from you and your yard?
Not only are marigolds colorful additions to your outdoor space, but they also contain natural compounds that repel insects. Consider planting these flowers near your windows and doorways so pests aren’t enticed to come inside. Lavender has a very pleasant scent to us, but most insects hate it. The exception with lavender is bees, but bees are beneficial to gardens anyway. Other plants that are known to naturally repel pests include catnip, garlic, and mint.
Use Commercial Insect Sprays or Natural Alternatives
Many seniors have become accustomed to spraying themselves with bug spray to keep mosquitos and ticks away when spending time outdoors. Many commercial sprays contain DEET, which is effective in keeping insects away. If you wish to avoid the potential risks of DEET on your skin, you can also try natural alternatives and home remedies for a similar effect. The essential oils of citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, and geranium are often used in homemade bug spray recipes.
Wear Long Sleeves and Pants
While it might be tempting to wear less clothing on hot days, layers of clothing can actually help keep bugs off your skin. Light-colored long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and close-toed shoes will help prevent bites from ticks and mosquitoes. Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, as well as strong perfumes, because mosquitos are attracted to these things.
Avoid Dawn and Dusk
Seniors should also pay attention to the times of day they spend outdoors. Insects are often most active at dawn and dusk, so these times should be avoided. On summer days, plan your outdoor time for early-to-mid-morning to avoid insects and the hottest part of the day.
Arrange for Home Repairs and Extermination
Another way to protect yourself against pests is to enlist the help of a trusted family member or a local handyman to make little fixes around the house. Easy repairs to fix tears in screen windows and doors will keep troublesome insects from making their way indoors. It may also help to call an exterminator to have your yard inspected and sprayed for insects, either as a preventative measure or to remedy an existing infestation.
Other Outdoor Precautions
In addition to summertime pests, there are many other ways that seniors can safely enjoy the outdoors on their own terms. For example, an outdoor stair lift can help seniors with mobility issues safely go up and down outdoor steps. Our Bruno stair lift options for outdoor use have been tested in all types of weather to help you navigate outdoor stairs with confidence.
It’s also a wise idea to wear sunscreen any time you go outdoors and to bring along a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for extra protection. If you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded because of the heat or other environmental elements, sit down, take deep breaths, or go back inside to a cooler place. With a few simple precautions and safety tips in mind, seniors can get the fresh air and exercise they need for a healthy body, mind, and spirit.