Ouch! Don't Let Your Senior Get Sun Burned this Summer (Or Anytime)!
There has been a tremendous increase in skin cancer, and more and more seniors are experiencing skin damage that they incurred during those hot summer days. Learn how to avoid this!
When many seniors were young they didn’t worry about getting too much sun – sunscreen wasn’t sold commercially until the 1960’s (Remember those Coppertone ads with the dog pulling on the child’s pants?) As children they played outside without using sunscreen or sometimes without wearing a hat! They didn’t worry about protecting their skin. As a result, there has been a tremendous increase in skin cancer, and more and more seniors are experiencing skin damage that they incurred during those hot summer days.
Luckily, today things have changed quite a bit – there are numerous types of good sunscreens on the market. But, regardless, seniors must protect their skin particularly in summertime – it is a matter of safety! Here is why: As we age our skin gets thinner and dryer due to diminished collagen and elastin, and slows down the replacement of dead skin cells with new ones. However, the biggest reason to protect seniors’ skin is, yes, you guessed it – skin cancer! Exposure to too much sun (UV radiation) is one of the most common causes of skin cancers. With skin cancer on the rise, it is imperative as part of a seniors health regime to follow sun safety.
So, how can you protect your elder loved one from the sun’s rays this summer? Here are some tips for keeping them protected:
- Sunscreen is your friend. If necessary, avoid the sun entirely!!! But, if they are unable to do so make sure shade is available. Also, always have them wear sunscreen outside! This will provide them with some extra protection if they happen to get exposed to the sun!
- The sun may still find shade. Believe it or not, even when a senior is sitting in the shade they can still be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, make sure that their arms and legs are covered with dark clothing and material that is not too thin – if it is, the sun can still get through!
- Make wearing hats fun! If shade is not available, have them wear a broad-brimmed hat. Wearing hats can be fun – it can be a trip down memory lane by having them remember the times they wore a hat as a child.
- The sun keeps time too! If a senior is outside, avoid exposure during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.—this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest!
- Medications and the sun – sometimes not a good combination! Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications. Believe it or not some common prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs such as Advil, Motrin and others can make their skin more sensitive to sunlight. Even prescription drugs such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes medications can cause sun sensitivity. Make sure you ask the doctor or pharmacist about medication side effects. If they increase sun sensitivity, keep them out of the sun!
In addition to taking the precautions above, always make sure your senior is hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids, particularly during the warmer summertime weather. And, finally, make sure that their skin is checked regularly by the doctor for any unusual freckles, bumps, moles or other irregularities. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Keeping your senior safe is vitally important, and a big part of this safety is following sun precautions. Enjoy the summertime by staying sun-safe by wearing those big floppy hats and sunscreen when you are outdoors.
What methods do you use for sun protection? Have you found the perfect sun lotion or best hat for those summer rays?