Regardless of the time of year, it is important to take care of your skin. This is especially true for seniors. However, the summer months bring with them the added risk of damage from sun exposure and skin cancer concerns, but with a few safety tips, elderly skin care can be a snap.
Unfortunately, as you age, your skin ages right along with you. An older person’s skin typically becomes thinner and loses some of the fat that once made it smooth and full. Due to this, the bones and veins become more obvious. It also means that damage, such as cuts or scratches can take longer to completely heal.
The same can be said about bruises. Older adults tend to bruise easier than younger people. However, there are still ways to keep skin healthy with a little TLC and precautions with regard to elderly skin safety.
- Reduce the amount of time in the sun – Spending time outside in the sunshine and fresh air can do a person a world of good, but it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Try to limit the amount of time in the sun between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.. The sun is at its strongest at this time and can do more damage.
Also, keep in mind that even if it is cloudy, the sun’s rays penetrate the clouds, so you need to limit time outside. Skin safety should also include having a caregiver check the skin for any changes and urging them to seek treatment if any are found.
- Keep covered – If your elderly parent is going to be outside, it is best for them to stay covered. A large hat can be very helpful to them when enjoying some sunshine outdoors. Not only will it keep the sun’s rays off their face, it will keep it off the neck and out of the eyes.
It is also better to wear long sleeves and pants or a long skirt instead of short sleeves and shorts. Just make sure they are loose fitting and a light-weight fabric such as linen to keep your loved one cool.
- Sunscreen is a must – It is important to understand that not all sunscreens are created equally. An inferior sunscreen is worse than none at all as it will give a false sense of comfort that it is providing protection and your elderly parent may spend too much time in the sun.
The best sunscreens will have the words, “Broad Spectrum,” on the front of the bottle. Also, a protection level of 15 or higher is best. Plan on re-applying the sunscreen at least every two hours or more often if you are swimming.
Skin care for the elderly, can be an issue. From sun damage to wrinkles and age spots, it can seem like a never ending battle when it comes to skin safety. Caregivers must always be aware of the weather conditions, especially in the summer, and take proactive steps to keep their loved one safe from the sun’s damage.
How do you keep your loved one’s skin safe during the summer? Tell us in the comments below!
For more information, please review our Skin Safety Resources.