As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, we know that the summer months are just around the corner! Although summer is a time for fun in the sun and outdoor activities, it is important to remember that sunshine, UV rays, and heat can be very detrimental and dangerous for seniors if the proper precautionary steps are not taken. Skin becomes thinner and more vulnerable to sunburns as people age. Not only does this put your elderly loved ones at a higher risk of developing cancer, but a sunburn is painful and can take significant time to heal. Here are several tips that our seniors, as well as their caregivers, can utilize to ensure they are playing it safe in the summertime heat and sun.
Sunscreen helps protect the skin from sunburns. Elderly or not, people of all ages should use sunscreen when they are outdoors. As a reminder, sunscreen should be applied to your loved one 15-30 minutes prior to their time in the sun. People often forget that sunscreen must be reapplied frequently for best results. Hats will also help protect senior’s heads from burning and can help to keep the sunshine out of their eyes. Wearing sunglasses can also protect the eyes from those harmful UV rays.
Remember to consume water often when outdoors in the heat. The feeling of thirst decreases as we age, therefore, it is very important for caregivers to remind their elderly loved ones to consume enough water each day. Set a goal to drink 24 to 32 ounces of water daily, even when you are not out in the summer sunshine.
Did you know that some medications can cause increased sensitivity to UV rays? It is imperative to review medications before spending time in the sun. A senior who experiences sensitivity to light may encounter symptoms such as a rash or bad sunburn. If you or a caregiver are concerned or have questions regarding medications, please check with a doctor or pharmacist for more information before spending time outdoors.
Keep Track of Time
It is best to spend time outdoors in the morning and the evening when the sun is less intense and not at its peak. The temperatures are lower during these times, making it safer for seniors and their caregivers to spend time outdoors. It is important to be cautious of the amount of time you are spending outside to avoid medical issues such as hyperthermia or heat stroke.
In case of emergency, always know who to call. It is helpful for elderly loved ones and their caregivers to prepare a list of accessible emergency contacts. If a medical issue arises, family and/or friends can be reached in a timely manner to help assess the situation.
If you are concerned that yourself or an elderly loved one are not spending enough time outdoors, please consider a caregiver. Dependable Care can attend to your loved one’s needs and provide a sense of safety and security while helping seniors do the things they love each day. Dependable Care is Connecticut’s top Non-Medical homecare agency in the state. Dependable Care provides in home care for the elderly, and creates peace of mind for both our Clients and their families.