The Fourth of July is a chance for all Americans to honor the founding of our nation, but for some citizens, celebrating all day and into the night can pose certain health risks. With a little preparation and flexibility, senior citizens, nursing home residents, and people recovering from recent illness or injury can have as much patriotic fun as everyone else. Here are some tips for celebrating a healthy Fourth of July:
Tip #1: Bring a healthy dish to share
Whether you attend a barbecue, picnic, or gathering at the beach, food is usually the centerpiece of Fourth of July celebrations. But unless you coordinate with the host beforehand and know the menu, it’s a good idea to bring a healthy dish or two to share that complies with your dietary or other medical restrictions. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a good bet, and pasta salads are a healthy, filling alternative to fatty meats and high-calorie side dishes.
Tip #2: Avoid food that’s been sitting out
Perishable food like potato salad, dips, and cooked meats should not sit out for more than two hours, according to US FDA suggestions. And while everyone should avoid eating possibly contaminated food, food poisoning is especially dangerous for seniors and others who are not in tip-top health. So if you notice that food has been lingering on the picnic table all afternoon, resist that second plate of chips and dip—and give the host a head’s up while you’re at it.
Tip #3: Limit or avoid alcohol
Alcoholic drinks might be a staple of summer celebrations, but they can adversely affect many types of medication and exacerbate certain medical conditions. If you’re not sure whether the party you’re attending will have healthy non-alcoholic drinks—sugary drinks should also be avoided, if possible—bring some iced tea or diet soda to sip during the day.
Tip #4: Drink plenty of water
In addition to healthy beverages, be sure drink water throughout the day—better yet, keep a water bottle nearby at all times to remind you to hydrate. Dehydration can lead to serious medical issues, especially for senior citizens, who are more vulnerable to heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Tip #5: Slather on the sunscreen
While most seniors were not exactly vigilant about sunscreen in their youth, skin becomes more delicate with age and needs more protection than ever from the sun’s dangerous UV rays. Apply sunscreen prior to your arrival at a Fourth of July event and bring extra to reapply during the day. You can also bring an umbrella or hat for extra shade, and wear special lightweight clothing that has built-in UV protection.
Tip #6: Bring your own seating
Most backyard barbecues and other Fourth of July celebrations have plenty of seating available, but senior citizens and those recovering from illness or injury should bring their own portable chair to ensure there is always a place to sit and rest as needed. There are many lightweight foldable chairs on the market, some with shoulder straps or carrying cases for easy transportation.
Tip #7: Bring ear plugs
Aside from an abundance of food, the one thing most Fourth of July celebrations have in common is a fireworks show at night. And while fireworks are undeniably beautiful and exciting, they can also cause serious damage to your ears, especially for senior citizens and others with already-compromised hearing. A set of high-quality earplugs will allow you to enjoy the show without worry.
Healthy lifestyles are our priority year-round
At Bella Vista Health Center, we understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle for all our skilled nursing facility residents, whether they are receiving short-term or long-term care. That’s why we offer comprehensive services and amenities at our 5-Star skilled nursing facility in San Diego including free concierge services, salon services, a yoga and meditation center, and activities that focus on the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is in need of the best skilled nursing facility in the area, give us a call at (619) 644-1000 for a tour or fill out our contact form for more information today.