The Georgia heat is here in full swing and we all know from living in Georgia how important sun safety is – especially for the older generations. Seniors are at higher risk for things like heat stroke, skin cancer, and dehydration so as family members and caregivers we need to be diligent in making sure they are protected.
Let’s look at some ways to maximize sun safety for seniors and ensure your loved one stays happy and healthy while enjoying the sun.
Wear Protective Clothing – Because the sun’s rays can damage skin in 15 minutes, it’s imperative that we protect our skin against it. One way we can do that is through protective clothing, like long sleeve shirts and long pants. Make sure your loved one’s clothes are made out of breathable material like cotton, so they can also stay cool. Another good idea is a floppy hat to protect their head, face, ears, and neck when spending time outside.
Apply Sunscreen – Sunscreen is a must if you will be spending any more than 15 minutes outside in the sun. Apply sunscreen to your loved one before your activity and then reapply at least every two hours. If they are participating in activities that make them sweat, or they are going for a swim, reapply more often. If you have trouble remembering to put on sunscreen (don’t worry it happens to the best of us), set a reminder on your phone.
Wear Sunglasses – Not only is it imperative you protect your skin but also your eyes. Extended exposure without protection can lead to sight problems like cataracts and macular degeneration – both conditions that plague seniors. Invest in eyewear that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses do not have to be expensive and be a name brand, but they do need to protect against these rays to be functional.
Drink Lots of Water – It is important to monitor your loved one's liquid intake especially if they are participating in a strenuous activity that may cause them to sweat. It is recommended that they consume at least eight glasses per day – but this should increase with activity. Also remember to increase water intake if they are drinking caffeine beverages like tea, coffee or soda. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can quickly dehydrate someone if they are not careful.
Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency – Be aware of how to handle an emergency situation and recognize the signs of dehydration and heat stroke. If your loved one exhibits symptoms like dizziness, nausea, confusion, headache, muscle cramps, or is lethargic, please visit a medical professional for evaluation.
We hope through these tips that you can get out and enjoy the sunshine safely with your loved ones. The sun’s rays are known to be a mood booster and improve Vitamin D levels – so they are great to enjoy… In moderation!