Should Seniors Spend Their Summers Tanning?

Sun exposure can be a contentious subject. On one hand, intentional tanning can lead to skin cancer, precancerous lesions and premature aging. On the other, hiding indoors can have a deleterious effect on a person’s social life, emotional wellbeing and vitamin D levels. If your senior loved one is looking a bit pale and has expressed interest in getting out into the glorious summer sun, protection and early detection are among the most important considerations. Here are some things for Dayton in-home caregivers to consider before accompanying their loved ones outdoors.

Risks Associated with Sunbathing

Tanning, whether indoor or outdoor, exposes the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of all non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by UV light. It’s estimated that between 40 percent and 50 percent of people aged 65 or older will be diagnosed with a non-melanoma type of skin cancer once in their lives. Luckily, sun block, long sleeves and a good hat can greatly reduce sun exposure and the attendant risks without cooping your loved one up in the house. It’s important for respite caregivers in Dayton to be vigilant about covering the backs of the hands, ears and neck, as these areas are often neglected.

What to Watch Out For

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are both very survivable, provided they are discovered and treated before spreading into neighboring lymph nodes or organs. If your senior loved one loves to spend time outdoors, be on the lookout for so-called “age spots” or new freckles or moles. Regular screening by a dermatologist is absolutely necessary, especially for Caucasians and other high-risk groups.

Benefits of Sun Exposure

While skin cancer is a very real risk, those who are kept out of the sun entirely can develop a vitamin D deficiency. The body requires this particular vitamin to process calcium and maintain bone density. In addition, lack of sun exposure has been documented to increase the risk of depression.
When it comes to intentional tanning, it’s easy to see that tanning for its own sake is a bad idea. However, involving your senior loved one in outdoor activities is perfectly safe, provided they are taking precautions and having regular skin cancer screenings. Learn more about the benefits of sun tanning and precautions to take when you call Home Care Assistance in Dayton at [hca_phone]. We are a leading provider of in-home care that is dedicated to helping seniors age in place while giving them the tools they need to boost longevity and wellbeing at home. Don’t forget to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our comprehensive services.

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