Sun Safety Tips for Older Adults

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How Seniors Can Stay Safe in the Sun

Sunshine is both uplifting and essential. It helps the body properly synthesize D vitamins and can also contribute to a sense of happiness and overall well-being. Since too much exposure to the sun can lead to serious skin damage for seniors, see what you can do to help your loved one protect themself during the warmest months of the year.

  1. Limit Midday Activities – Summertime is the perfect time to add a midday nap to senior routines. The sun burns the hottest between 10 am and 4 pm. Thus, this is not the ideal time for a stroll or any other outdoor activities. Home Care Assistance Sonoma County recommends seniors take morning or evening walks, and can schedule any essential medical appointments early.
  2. Check Medication Warnings – When the temperatures rise, it is important to carefully read the labels on all of the medications your loved one is taking. Many prescription drugs cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. When this is the case, talk to your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist to find out which activities should be avoided.
  3. Limit Caffeine and Drink Plenty of Water – Caregivers should remember that thirst is the very first sign of dehydration. Seniors should consume only modest amounts of caffeine and carbonated beverages during the summer months given that these contribute to dehydration. Aging adults often need between six and eight full glasses of water per day to stay properly hydrated. Although sun exposure can be minimized, exposure to higher temperatures can increase the likelihood of dehydration and sunstroke.
  4. Pick Loose, Light-Colored Clothing – Seniors should dress in loose, light-colored clothing throughout the summer months. Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal given that these are lightweight and provide plenty of airflow. Moreover, unlike synthetic fabrics and most fabric blends, they also help to wick excess moisture away from the skin. The right clothing will keep your loved one cool, comfortable and dry, even on some of the hottest days of the year.
  5. Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke – Dry skin, a rapid pulse, disorientation, extreme fatigue, nausea and confusion are all signs of heat stroke. If two or more of these symptoms are identified on a hot day, seek medical help. It may also be helpful to enlist the help of a professional caregiver if you are unable to watch your loved one around the clock. Caregivers who provide hourly care in Sonoma County are trained and experienced, and can act as a second pair of eyes for additional peace of mind.
  6. Have Household HVAC Systems Serviced – HVAC companies are inundated with service requests as soon as temperatures spike. Many people fail to check the functionality of their indoor cooling systems until these units are desperately needed. Before temperatures soar, have a trusted, local company change out old filters and perform all other routine maintenance. Identifying and addressing problems early on will limit the overall cost of repairs while ensuring that seniors have constant access to these important systems.
  7. Be Mindful of Indoor Exposure – Although many adults are careful to apply sunscreen before going out, few people consider the harmful effects that UV rays can have on a person indoors. Putting up window screens, blinds or other coverings that filter UV rays is a great way to protect seniors from sun damage while inside of the home. There are a number of economical window treatments that effectively filter UV rays without significantly diminishing the amount of natural light that illuminates the unit.

The spring months are here so make sure your aging parent or loved one is equipped with the information and assistance needed to stay safe! For more information about senior care or senior safety, contact the Sonoma County live-in care experts from Home Care Assistance at 707-843-4368.


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