Summertime is here, and it is time to get out in the sun! As the family caregiver, you might be planning a vacation for the entire family, including your aging loved one. Or, you might just be thinking about daily activities that you and your senior can do outside, like gardening or taking a trip to the local park.
No matter what your plans are, though, you should make sure that sun protection is a part of them. We always think about putting sunscreen on our children before we send them outside in the summer, but what about our parents and grandparents? Skin becomes more sensitive and thin as we age, so it is more important than ever for the elderly to protect themselves from the sun’s harsh rays.
Here are a few sun safety tips for seniors (and their caregivers) to include in your summer plans.
- Avoid certain times of day. The best way to avoid skin damage from the sun is to avoid going outside when the sun is at its highest and strongest points. These times can vary, but usually 10am to 4pm is when UV rays are most intense. During these hours, limit your loved one’s time outdoors, or take extra precautions to make sure they don’t get sunburned.
- Sunblock. No matter what time they go outside, be sure that your loved one is wearing sunscreen or sunblock. The higher the SPF the better, and frequent reapplication is best for preserving the strength of the sunblock, and making sure that the least amount of sun gets through to damage the skin.
- Hats. Hats with a wide brim are a great way to keep the sun off of one’s face. This might not seem like it would make a big difference, but in reality, something as simple as a hat can help one avoid sunburn and even more serious problems, like melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Baseball caps are a great option, but hats with wide brims that go all the way around the hat can help keep the sun off one’s neck as well.
- Clothing. Even though it is hot outside, a light, long-sleeved shirt and pants can help to keep the skin covered and block out the sun. The fabric can actually even help to wick moisture away from the skin, and make your loved one feel less sweaty and hot. Be careful, though, not to let your senior get uncomfortable or overheated.
With these things in mind, you and your senior loved one can enjoy the sun to its fullest. You don’t have to avoid the sun – you can embrace it! Just be sure to be safe about it, so that it does not cause problems in the future. No one wants a sunburn, and the skin damage from the sun can be much worse in someone of old age, making it not just itchy and uncomfortable, but potentially life-threatening. So be smart about the sun, but don’t forget to have fun too!
If you or an aging loved one needs caregiver services in Sacramento, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.