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Is It Safe for Your Elderly Loved One to Spend Time in the Sun?

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors are often told to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, but the media is full of warnings about the dangers of too much sun exposure. However, it is possible to find a middle ground. The Warren in-home care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss some of the benefits and detriments of sun exposure and offer tips to help your elderly loved one safely enjoy some time outside.

Health Benefits of Sun Exposure

Spending time in the sunshine does more than just make your loved one feel good on a pretty day. Your loved one’s body needs sunshine to produce vitamin D, which affects energy levels as well as bone density. Sun exposure also helps prevent depression, and seniors who spend time outside each day are more likely to get the exercise they need to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Potential Dangers of Too Much Sun

Though humans need the sun to survive, the harsh UV rays can be detrimental to a senior’s health. As people age, their skin becomes thinner and more vulnerable to sunburns. A serious sunburn is not only painful, but it also places your loved one at a greater risk of developing cancer. Heat stroke is another potential danger if your loved one spends too much time in the sun on a hot day.

Tips to Minimize Risks and Maximize the Benefits of Sunlight

As with many of the best things in life, moderation is the key to preventing unpleasant side effects. To get optimum benefits from the sun, your loved one only needs about 15 minutes of exposure a day without wearing sunscreen. If he or she will be outside for longer, it is best to apply sunscreen and use additional preventive methods such as sitting in the shade. When the temperature outside is extremely hot, your loved one can also receive many of the benefits of sun exposure by sitting near a window. This way, he or she can still soak up the warm rays without sacrificing comfort or health.

If you’re concerned your loved one isn’t spending enough time outdoors and want to ensure he or she does so safely, consider hiring a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can provide transportation and assistance with mobility and help with a wide array of other important tasks. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Warren families trust. For more information on our in-home care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to request a no-obligation consultation.