Many older adults like to spend time outdoors but the risk sun creates for them is dangerous. Seniors are at a high risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Skin cancer is a common form of cancer in the United States. Though protecting skin with sunscreen is important all year-round, it is even more required in months when the sun is intense. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. As natural changes occur in skin as one age, seniors are more vulnerable to the harmful effects and we need to protect seniors from skin cancer.
Good skincare plays a vital role in the overall health of the individual. Skin has various important functions. It protects us from the environment, helps us control body temperature and lets us feel sensations. With aging, the outermost layer of the skin thins and the number of cells containing pigment decreases.
Reasons for Getting Skin Cancer
Excessive Sun Exposure
Most skin cancers results from the sun damage over the course of life. As seniors have lived longer, they have had most sun exposure and the most damage from ultraviolet rays. The sunburns and suntans damage the DNA of the skin and breaks down the tissues. This may produce genetic defects as well leading to skin cancer. Those who regularly spend time in the sun are at risk of developing skin cancer, when the protective measures are not taken. If your senior lives in areas with high levels of UV radiation from sun, they are at risk.
As one ages, the skin become thinner and more fragile. It becomes more sensitive to the skin. Some medications may have side effects that include increased sun sensitivity.
The factors that puts one at higher risk of skin cancer include personal history of skin cancer, exposure to sun, history of sun burns in early life and the skin that burns or becomes painful in the sun.
Useful Tips to Protect Seniors from Skin Cancer
You can protect the elderly person from skin cancer by avoiding excessive sun exposure. You should make sure that the senior wears waterproof sunblock with minimum SPF 30 before going outside.
Covering up exposed skin is also effective is reducing the risk of getting skin cancer. Make sure that the elder covers face with sunglasses and scarf. The lenses of sunglasses should minimize the glare from reflected sunlight. It helps to protect the eyes as well as the surrounding skin. Loose fitting long-sleeved shirts and long pants offer protection from sun’s UV rays.
Sunlight from windows can also be dangerous to the seniors as the glass magnifies the intensity of UV rays. You should cover the windows with sun protection curtains and UV filtering shades.
One can reduce the risk of skin cancer by getting routine cancer screenings. This is important to catch cancer at an early stage. Also, it works as a preventative measure.
Take Adequate Fluids
Good nutrition and adequate fluids are essential for seniors in hot months. Dehydration can increase the risk of injury.
You should routinely check their skin for any irregularities and report them to doctor immediately. Encourage your senior to wear protective clothing and high-SPF sunscreen.
When you have the right knowledge and proactive encouragement, you can protect seniors from skin cancer. With your close attention, you can help your senior loved ones to live a longer and happier life.
Contact Help-U-Care for any senior care assistance.