5 UV Safety Tips to Protect Seniors During the Summer

5 UV Safety Tips to Protect Seniors During the Summer

It’s normal to want to spend more time outside during summer. The weather is warmer, and the days are longer. While the warm sun may feel great on your skin, it often causes more harm than good. The sun emits harmful UV rays that damage the skin. Continual sun damage can result in more troublesome skin conditions, including skin cancer.

Seniors and Skin Cancer

Older adults are at higher risk of developing skin cancer for various reasons:

  • Damage from UV rays builds up over time. Seniors have lived longer, so they have been exposed to more UV rays.
  • The baby boomer generation didn’t grow up wearing sunscreen. During their youth, it wasn’t uncommon to apply baby oil before laying in the sun.
  • With age, the body’s ability to find and destroy cancer cells decreases.

Regardless of how you cared for your skin in the past, you can still benefit from protecting your skin today. By using these UV safety tips, you reduce further damage to your skin.

5 UV Safety Tips for Seniors

  1. Wear sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is an excellent way for seniors to protect their skin from the sun. Sunscreen works by blocking and absorbing UV rays. This helps to combat both UVA and UVB rays, which contribute to skin cancer, sunburns, and other types of sun damage. Because the sun can damage the skin in just 15 minutes, apply sunscreen even if you are only going to be outside for a few minutes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using sunscreen:

  • Wear sunscreen every day
  • Choose SPF 30 sunscreen or higher
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours
  1. Protect your eyes

In addition to guarding your skin, it’s equally important to protect your eyes from UV radiation. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to various types of eye damage including cataracts and macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes. Consider the following when purchasing sunglasses:

  • Choose a pair that blocks 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays
  • Select close-fitting wrap-around frames so your eyes are guarded from every angle
  • Try them on to make sure they don’t slide down your nose
  1. Wear protective clothing

Wearing protective clothing can be an effective way for seniors to preserve their skin during the summer. By covering the entire body with clothing, the sun’s rays have to travel through an additional layer before reaching the skin. A few types of clothing that help protect the skin include:

  • Clothing specially designed for sun protection
  • Long sleeves and pants to cover more skin
  • Darker or brighter colors because they absorb more UV rays than lighter colors
  1. Stay in the shade

It’s helpful for seniors to avoid the sun as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 2 pm. During these times, the UV index is higher, meaning there is a greater chance for sunburn. If you need to be outside, do your best to stay in the shade. While the shade won’t guard against all of the sun’s harmful rays, some protection is better than none. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using shade as sun protection:

  • Choose large umbrellas as opposed to smaller ones
  • Sit under trees with large spreads or trees near other trees or buildings
  • Avoid using shade as your only form of protection
  1. Have your skin examined

Regardless of how careful you are about protecting your skin from the sun, you will still benefit from examining your skin throughout the year. The earlier you find skin cancer, the easier it is to treat. If you notice any new moles or skin discoloration, bring it up to your doctor. It’s also a good idea to have your skin examined by a health care provider annually.

Protect Your Skin Year-Round

It’s essential to protect your skin throughout the year, not just during the summer months. Even when it’s cloudy or cold, the sun still emits UV rays. These rays easily peek through clouds and are often masked by cold weather. Seniors can minimize their risk by employing sun safety tips year-round.

Heritage Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle

UV safety is only one part of healthy aging. At Heritage Senior Communities, we encourage seniors to live balanced and productive lives. Contact us today to learn more about our living options.

How Can I Help My Mom Manage Her Pre-Move Anxiety?

How Can I Help My Mom Manage Her Pre-Move Anxiety?

Dear Donna,

My mom is nervous about moving to an assisted living community. Even though the move was her idea, she has been avoiding preparations for the move. I am worried she is going to change her mind. How can I help my mom manage her pre-move anxiety?

Chelsea from Saline, MI

Understanding Pre-Move Anxiety

Dear Chelsea,

Moving requires a lot of work, so it’s understandable that many seniors become anxious. Not only can moving be physically demanding, but it can also be emotionally draining. Many homes contain years of memories and are full of sentimental treasures.

Just the thought of sorting through their belongings can prevent them getting started, even when they know they should. Here are a few tips to ease your loved one’s anxiety about moving.

4 Tips to Help Aging Parents Overcome Anxiety Before a Move

  1. Work slowly

Your loved one’s new living space is most likely going to be smaller than their current residence. This means they will need to downsize. Downsizing can be difficult for seniors, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They will be required to make a lot of decisions about what to bring, store, and discard.

It’s important to start early so your loved one has plenty of time to sort through their belongings. Feeling rushed might overwhelm them and cause them to put the process off indefinitely.

  1. Move before downsizing

Going through old photos and sentimental belongings can be particularly challenging for some seniors. Certain items can trigger memories that make them question their decision to move.

In cases like this, it may be helpful to move before downsizing so your loved one doesn’t have to watch. This can help lighten the emotional burden that often comes with a move. Just make sure they are okay with your plan and remember to be mindful about what you choose to discard.

  1. Create a plan

Planning is one of the best ways to ease a senior’s fears about moving. Not only can careful planning help you avoid chaos, but it can also give your loved one a sense of security.

If planning and organizing aren’t your strengths, consider hiring a senior move manager. Senior move managers are professionals who have a deep understanding of senior moves and the availability of resources in the community. They can help you with everything from creating a plan to setting up your loved one in their new home.

  1. Get involved in the community ahead of time

Participating in the community before the move can significantly reduce anxiety. Try taking your loved one to the community to meet the staff and the residents. Many senior living communities have activities scheduled throughout the day.

Trying an activity will give your loved one a chance to become familiar with the environment and connect with their future peers. This can help them feel more comfortable about the move, and they may even start to feel like part of the community.

Moving Is a Big Decision

Moving is a major life decision, so it’s important to be empathetic towards a senior loved one’s pre-move anxiety. Take time to let them know their feelings are valid and assure them you are there to help.

I hope this helps you relieve some of your mom’s pre-move anxiety.

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Supports the Transition to Assisted Living

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors transitioning to assisted living. Our communities are comfortable and designed to help seniors feel right at home. Contact us for more information.