Depending on where you live, you may only have a few short months of summer and that means it’s time for all of those outdoor activities you’ve been missing all winter/spring long. Your elderly loved one will appreciate the opportunity to get out and enjoy all of the bright sunshine and warm breezes this summer as well, but keeping her safe from the sun’s harmful rays is important.
Sun protection for the skin is important for everyone, but for your elderly loved one, it’s especially important. With thinning skin, the sun can do damage very quickly if your loved one isn’t protected properly. Whether you’re taking your loved one somewhere outside for the day, your loved one is going on her own, or her elder care provider is in charge of the day, follow these important tips for summer skin protection.
Apply and Reapply Sunscreen
Don’t wait to get to the beach to apply sunscreen. In order to work best, sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before exposure. This allows the sunscreen to bind to the skin better and also prevents a sheen of sweat from already being built up on the skin, making it more difficult to bind. Have your elder care provider put sunscreen on your loved one long before you pick her up or she heads out.
If your loved one is applying her sunscreen, she might need help from you or her elder care provider to make sure she gets coverage on those often overlooked spots like the back of her neck, her ears, and the tops of her feet if she’s wearing sandals. Also, many people apply sunscreen everywhere but then forget the back of their hands so try to get it everywhere.
Once your loved one is covered in sunscreen, don’t put it away. Put it in a bag and bring it with her. If your loved one is going to be outside for any length of time with you or her elder care provider, she’s going to need to reapply her sunscreen, especially if it’s a hot day that causes a lot of sweating or if she is in and out of the water. The general rule is to apply it every two hours, even the ones that say they’re water-resistant.
Drinking plenty of fluids is important to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. A well-hydrated body moves the sun’s heat away from the organs and towards the skin, where it can be evaporated as sweat, essential for staying cool on a hot day.
Keep Covered if Possible
A wide-brimmed hat is a great way to protect the skin on the top of the scalp as well as the ears, neck, and face. Long, loose sleeves and pants of light breathable fabric can keep the body cool as well as protect the skins it’s covering.
Finally, be aware of when the sun is strongest and avoid it when possible. During the summer, the sun is strongest from about 10 am-4 pm, so when possible attend those fun summer events in the early morning or late afternoon to protect your loved one’s delicate skin.