By AmeriCare, June 15, 2012
They say there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. Well, unfortunately that old axiom doesn’t apply to the sun. While moderate sun exposure is beneficial to our health, too much sun can cause dangerous conditions such as dehydration, heat stroke, and skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the health risks associated with over exposure to the sun, and may require special care to avoid its harmful effects.
Many seniors enjoy outdoor activities, such as walking, gardening, golfing, and fishing. And they should be encouraged to pursue these activities. But it’s important that they take precautions in order to stay safe. According to the American Cancer Society, one risk factor for skin cancer – actinic keratoses (AKs) – occurs most often in those who are middle-aged or older with light skin and have been exposed to too much sun. Small, scaly patches on the face, ears, backs of the hands and arms characterize AKs.
That’s why sunscreen is so important. A study in the Archives of Dermatology found that survey participants who used sunscreen daily – even when they weren’t planning to be outside for extended periods – developed 24 percent fewer AKs than those who used sunscreen at their own discretion. Seniors should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on exposed areas and re-apply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or perspiring.
In addition, seniors can do the following to help protect him or herself from the dangers of sun and heat:
Having companionship is another great way for a senior to enjoy the outdoors. A friend or relative can make sure that proper protection is applied when out in the summer sun. Or you may choose to hire a caregiver to accompany your loved one on their outings.
As a home care provider, our caregivers are all trained to provide exceptional senior care. And we’re committed to helping our senior clients enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. So, whether it’s with a caregiver, or out on their own, practicing these safety precautions will help bring a bit more sunshine into your senior’s life.