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Protect your elderly loved ones from the sun

It is “sun season” and time to think about keeping our elderly loved ones protected from the negative effects of sun exposure.

As we all know, elderly individuals spend a lot of time sitting; whether in wheelchairs or “taking breaks” on benches and in other public areas. While nobody can deny that fresh air and sun is good for everyone, the fact that lots of elderly individuals have limited or no mobility is a cause for special consideration. Since they rely on others to move them out of the sun, we must all be aware that more than 15 or 20 minutes in the sun can be harmful and make sure to move elderly individuals either back inside or to a shady or protected area.

Before leaving our elderly loved ones outside for much needed periods of fresh air and outdoor stimulation, it is imperative to make sure that they are wearing a high protection sunscreen and that they are “parked” in shady areas and/or have sun hats and even umbrellas if the sun is strong enough.

An interesting fact from the Skin Cancer Foundation states: “The odds of developing skin cancer rise as you age; in fact, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have at least one skin cancer. Older white men are at particular risk: Caucasian men over the age of 65 have had an 8.8 percent annual increase in melanoma incidence since 2003, the highest annual increase of any gender or age group.”

Their website contains special information to be distributed at senior centers, but is also useful for in-home caregivers. To access these great tips, click here.


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