Soaking up the sun can be great fun, but without proper protection the sun can do a fair bit of damage.
The spring and summer bring about warmer weather and longer days all aided by the wonderful sun which graces the skies with its bright presence.
Taking advantage of the sun whilst it is out is great for seniors, especially those who find darker drearier days more difficult to deal with from an emotional standpoint.
There are so many wonderful activities that can get seniors out being active, social, engaged, and happy when the sun is out all of which can be incredible for both physical and mental health.
The flip side of the wonderful impacts of the sun is that there is a little extra planning that needs to take place to make sure seniors are properly protected and don’t end up harmed by things like burns and sunstroke when they are out enjoying the sun.
Protection from the Sun
Sun protection is incredibly important for everyone, but when it comes to seniors there is often an extra vulnerability at play as a result of advanced age and some of the health problems that seniors may be experiencing. Senior skin is more vulnerable to damage, and a sunburn can have a more severe impact on seniors than it might have on younger skin. The following are some simple things to keep in mind that can help seniors avoid any damage or problems as a result of exposure to the sun.
- Be Aware of Risk Factors: Aspects of genetics, lifestyle, medications, and other health problems can all culminate to create a higher level of risk for certain individuals. Seniors should be aware of how things like their skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, existing health conditions, and past health concerns impact how they are affected by the sun.
- Use Sunscreen: The most obvious way to protect against things like sunburn and sun damage is to wear sunscreen with an appropriate SPF level. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly throughout the day to be able to do its job.
- Find the Shade: Spending time in a shadier spot can be a good way to still be outside enjoying the sunshine but can keep seniors out of direct exposure to the sun.
- Cover Up with Clothing: Hats, sunglasses, and clothes that cover up the skin without causing any overheating can be a great way to protect the skin from exposure.
- Be Aware of Reflective Surfaces: Whenever there is a reflective surface like water, concrete, or sand, the sun’s rays can bounce and hit the skin. When out and about, just do a little check around to be aware of these types of surfaces.
- Keep Track: Seniors or their caregivers should do a once-over of the skin from head to toe every month to check for anything different or unusual that might indicate a problem with the skin.
- See the Doctor Regularly: Doctors are trained to see the little things that we might not be able to pick up on by ourselves, and also know which things we should be concerned about and which things are totally okay. Doctors can also provide information about risk factors and whether any of the medications that seniors are taking increase their skin’s sensitivity to light. Seeing the doctor every year specifically to talk about the skin can be a helpful way to keep everyone informed and education about what is going on and how best to keep everything safe and healthy moving forward.
There are risks involved with spending time out in the sun, but that doesn’t mean that seniors need to stay inside all day and avoid enjoying the beauty of the sunshine. With a little planning, thought, and care, seniors can enjoy being outdoors even when the sun is baring down.