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| August 20, 2018

Sun Protection for Seniors

Writer: The Vidal Team

Elderly man sitting underneath a canopy in the sun

 

“We never worried about sunscreen when we were kids.” How often have we heard our parents or grandparents say this? Maybe it’s while we were putting sunscreen on ourselves or asking them to put it on their grandkids. Unfortunately, the more we learn about sun damage to our skin the more that memory of the past turns from nostalgic to regretful. The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation estimates 1 of 6 Canadians will be diagnosed with skin cancer.[1] As we age our skin becomes more susceptible to sun damage,[2] so here at a few tips that important for seniors to follow.

 

Apply Sunscreen

Obvious as it sounds, many seniors skip wearing sunscreen. Think of the number of seniors you see on the beaches of tropical destination like Cuba, Mexico, or the Dominican Republic. How many of those “snowbirds” as they often call themselves, are wearing UV/UVB protection? Even if you’re just going for a walk in sun, or taking a senior family member for a day at the park apply at least SPF 30. Seniors who are taking certain medications (including those used to treat inflammatory conditions, high-blood pressure, diabetes, and/or heart conditions) are especially at risk for UV damage.[3]

 

Block those rays

In the heat lightweight clothing can help prevent harmful rays from touching sensitive skin. Look for breathable clothing in light colours to prevent overheating. Hats are a great way to keep sun off the head and face and can be found with SPF ratings and a variety of styles. Pick a hat with a wide brim to help block the sun from any angle and help protect the eyes.

 

Grab some shades

 Speaking of the eyes, sunglasses help protect these sensitive organs from potential UV damage. Look for the sticker or a mark on the tag on store-bought sunglasses, that lets you know they have UV protective lenses and aren’t just for style (though it’s easy to find sunglasses that are stylish and functional).[4] For prescriptions glasses, try to make it easy for you or seniors to switch from regular glasses to ones with sun protection, try clip-ons or styles that go over-top of prescriptions, or look into Transition lenses that change automatically. Remember, sunglasses only help if you remember to put them on.

 

Monitor the signs

Keep an eye out for any symptoms of skin cancer and let your doctor know if you notice things like moles, spots, or growths that seem to be suspicious. Uneven spots, asymmetrical moles or misshapen mole borders, and bleeding/itching are all signs to talk to a medical professional.[5]

 

Vidal Home Care can help you arrange transport as well as arrange personal care and grooming for seniors under your care. Download the Vidal Home Care mobile app or call 1-888-97 VIDAL today.

 

References:
[1] Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/
[2] Skin Cancer Foundation https://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/anti-aging/seniors
[3] Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/health-effects-ultraviolet-radiation.html
[4] Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/sunglasses.html
[5] Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/sun-safety/skin-cancer.html

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