People who live in Colorado are known for their passion for outdoor recreation and their adventurous spirits. However, the adventure-loving crowd isn’t limited to Millennials and Generation X. Members of the Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation love taking advantage of our great state’s natural wonders. But older Coloradans will have to use a few additional safety protocols. Hikers can blow their Achilles or suffer other injuries in hard-to-reach places. If you experience an injury and can’t hop on one leg to your car, you’ll want to be prepared. Here are a few practices to keep in mind.
Pack Plenty of Water
It’s important to be in the habit of bringing water every time you go for a hike, but it’s especially important for seniors. Older adults have a higher risk of experiencing dehydration because fluid content in the body decreases with age. Seniors also have a weakened thirst response, so they’re less likely to drink water when dehydrated. But, if you experience an accident, get stuck, or take a wrong turn, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of water to stay comfortable. The recommended water intake for older adults is around 1.7 liters per day. If you’re going on a day-long hike, we recommend bringing double that amount.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wearing layers is essential for hikers of all ages. But, like drinking enough water, it’s especially important for older adults. While body temperature doesn’t change much as people age, it becomes more difficult for the body to control its temperature. This makes seniors more susceptible to both hypothermia and heat stroke. Wear multiple sweat-wicking layers to stay safe and comfortable.
Bring a Medical Alert System
Seniors who spend their days hiking in the Colorado mountains probably don’t need some type of mobile medical device in their day-to-day lives. However, they prove to be excellent safety tools when out in the wilderness. These devices can connect users to emergency services, like 911, or personal contacts who may be able to help you out. Plus, if you experience an accident, it’s easier to hit a medical alert button than to try reaching help with limited phone service. Even if you’re healthy enough to hike at altitude, carrying an alert system that works in remote areas is essential. In Colorado, Verizon and AT&T have the most wide-reaching cellular networks, so finding a medical alert system that utilizes both networks is your safest option.
Tell Multiple People Where You’re Going
Seniors often have smaller social networks than younger people. This can make it difficult to find friends to hike with, or even to add as emergency contacts. That said, it is essential to let multiple people know where and when you’ll be out hiking. Don’t feel awkward if you need to tell an acquaintance of your whereabouts. Safety and communication are important, and if something happens, you’ll want at least a few people to know where you are.