Wearing sunscreen is important for all ages, including seniors. Unfortunately, many senior citizens don’t know what type or how much of it to use. As a family caregiver, you may have to help your elderly loved one to use the appropriate sunscreen at the right times. In-home care can also play an important role in making sure your senior is taking sun protection seriously.
Sun-Protection Factors or SPF
The SPF on sunscreen stands for sun-protection factor. There are many different types of SPF lotions and sprays. However, it is important that the elderly use a sunscreen that has a 30 SPF or higher. This can help to block out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Your elderly loved one needs to protect their skin from UVB radiation (the type that causes sunburns) and UVA radiation (the type that speeds up the aging process). Both these types of radiation can cause skin cancer. So, when you are helping your elderly loved one to pick out the sunscreen, be sure it is broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against both these types of rays.
It is also important that your elderly loved one is applying the sunscreen at the appropriate times. Generally speaking, sunscreen should be applied to the entire body about 15 minutes before someone is going to be exposed to the sun. It is crucial that the entire body is being covered including the tops of ears, neck, nose, forehead, arms, legs, feet, and scalp. Even your elderly loved one’s back should be covered. Then, if your elderly loved one is going to be outdoors for over 2 hours, the sunscreen should be reapplied at the 2-hour mark and every 2 hours after that. If your elderly loved one is sweating a lot or has gone swimming, they should reapply the sunscreen after both these instances, too.
When to Use Sunscreen
In addition to the proper timing, there are certain circumstances where your elderly loved one may think they don’t need sunscreen, but they do. Some of these instances include:
- Being in the shade
- On cloudy days
- Only going outside for a short time
- In the morning and evening (all day really)
Now that you know your elderly loved one still needs sunscreen at these times, too, make sure they know this. It should also be noted that wearing sunglasses and a hat whenever possible outside is another great way to protect the skin and eyes from damaging sun rays.
This is just some of the sunscreen information that is helpful for the elderly. If you are caring for your elderly loved one, it is crucial to make sure they are following the advice noted here today. Many senior citizens won’t remember to put on sunscreen as often as they need to. If this is happening with your elderly loved one, it may be good for you to hire in-home care providers who can remind your elderly loved one to put it on and help them to put it on, as well.