Senior adults are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of exposure from the ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. Skin cancer, premature aging and painful sunburns are just a few of the types of damage that seniors can experience if proper precautions are not implemented before spending time outside in the sun. Yet, it is important to know that using SPF sunscreen is not always the most effective way to prevent skin damage in senior adults.
How to Protect Aging Skin
As a person ages, their skin becomes thinner and damage that has accumulated throughout the years may begin to show. Senior adults may also take certain medications that can make their skin more sensitive to the sun. One of the first things senior adults can do is identify the side effects of their medication and adjust their time in the sunshine accordingly.
In addition to wearing SPF protection, seniors should also keep their skin covered as much as possible with clothing and a large brimmed hat. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to stay cool during warm summer days is to cover your skin with pants and a long sleeve shirt. It is also advised that older adults avoid spending large amounts of time outside in the sun during peak noontime hours and, instead, try to enjoy the dim sunshine in the mornings and late afternoons.
Options for Seniors Who Can’t Do it On Their Own
If you or your loved one needs assistance to stay independent, you may want to consider hiring a professional hourly or live-in caregiver in West Hartford from Home Care Assistance. A professional caregiver can not only help with everyday activities but also provide much needed personal care.
Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency
Recently, the increased use of SPF protection and general avoidance of the sun has led to more people experiencing vitamin D deficiency. The human body needs sunlight to produce vitamin D. A deficiency of this critical vitamin can lead to cognitive impairment, bone loss and cardiovascular problems in people of all ages. Seniors who wear SPF protection or avoid the sun may need to be tested for vitamin D deficiency and they may need to take supplements. As with most things, moderation is key. Just 10 minutes spent enjoying the Connecticut sunshine every day is enough to produce the amount of Vitamin D that your body requires. And if you are someone who needs mobility assistance or would like a loving companion to take a walk with, see how Home Care Assistance’s hourly caregivers in West Hartford can be the perfect help.
Caring for Damaged Skin
If some damage has already been done, rest assured that there are steps you can take to improve and repair sun-kissed skin. Senior adults should have a skin cancer screening exam done yearly to identify potentially serious types of damage early on so that it can be treated. Sunburns can be soothed with aloe vera and lotion can be applied to dry or aging skin to keep it supple. By taking a proactive stance, senior adults can protect delicate skin while still enjoying the benefits of spending time outdoors.
For information on how a caregiver from Home Care Assistance of Greater Hartford could help your aging loved one, contact us at 860-372-4500. We’d be happy to set up a free in-home consultation.