July marks a time when more and more of us are spending time outdoors and because of this we need to recognize the importance of UV Safety for Seniors. It’s important to understand that the sun provides us positive effects for both our mind and body; while the key is to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine safely.
There’s no reason for us to hide from the sun and there are many activities that we can participate in that include the outdoors but doing so keeping UV safety for seniors in mind. Especially if you’re from a climate where winters can be long and dreary, summertime is welcomed with open arms and the warm blanket provided by the sun can be refreshing when done right.
Facts About UV Safety for Seniors
- Seniors can be at a higher risk for skin cancer – A study published by the BBC stated that “Older people are more at risk of skin cancer and infection because their skin is unable to mobilise the immune system to defend itself.”
- Sunshine can help battle depression – Depression is common in the senior community and enjoying the benefits of a little sunshine can help to combat depression. The sun can actually play a very important role in battling depression in people of all ages.
- UV Rays are most dangerous between 10am-4pm – Plan your outdoor activities before or after the hottest times in the sun. This can help you avoid the worst rays of the day and avoid becoming overheated and risking heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
- UV Rays can affect your eyes as well as your skin – While we are constantly reminded to protect our skin from the harsh rays of the sun, we aren’t always reminded that our eyes can suffer damage too. It’s important to wear sunglasses with both UVA & UVB ray protection and a wide brimmed hat can help keep the sun from coming in over the top and sides of your glasses; especially if you don’t have wrap around style glasses.
- Take heed to warnings – There are times when the heat index becomes dangerous; especially here in the Chicago area. Be sure to listen to the warnings when the heat becomes too intense and utilize local cooling shelters if you don’t have access to air conditioning.
Here in Chicago we love it when we finally see summer but we also have to remember that, especially as we age, the sun and heat can be dangerous.
In Chicago, dial 311 to find out where the nearest cooling shelter is to you. If you cannot get to a shelter they will provide a “check-in” for you or an elderly loved one during times of unsafe weather conditions.
Enjoy your summer and remember to keep in mind the facts of UV safety for seniors as we all appreciate not having to shovel sunshine!
The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) Website