Sun Safety Month!
August is Sun Safety Month, which makes it the perfect time to talk about sun safety in older Adults. According to the CDC website, a major risk factor for most skin cancer is that there is too much exposure of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. As individuals age, skin becomes more prone to skin cancer as it thins. Because of this, the rate of new melanoma cases rises drastically after the age of 65. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that over half of skin cancer-related deaths are people over the age of 65.
If you didn’t know, sun damage can happen fast. Did you know that UV rays can cause skin cancer in just 15 minutes? Most activities like taking out the garbage, picking a few flowers, or watering plants can take 15 minutes to complete. Even windows with direct sunlight beaming into the house can still expose the skin to UV rays.
Some ways to ensure safety in the sun for older adults are:
· Stay in the shade
· Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
· Use a sunscreen that offers 'broad-spectrum protection' (UVA and UVB ray protection)
· Wear a wide-brimmed hat
· Wear clothing to the ankles
· Wear a long-sleeved shirt
In 2015, the National Health Interview Survey through the CDC found that most older adults do not use multiple ways to protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays. According to this same survey, about 18% of older adults and 15% of older adults who are sun-sensitive said they didn’t use any kind of sun protection regularly. Also, sunburn among sun-sensitive older adults in 2015 was 20%. Making sure you are safe while outside in the sun is really important for aging adults. The CDC’s website states: “People who reach the age of 65 can expect to live, on average, 2 more decades. This means that efforts to improve the use of sun protection and reduce sunburn among older adults would likely help to reduce skin cancer risk in later decades of life”.
At Christ the King Manor, we encourage our residents and clients to enjoy some fresh air and sun as often as possible while ensuring as much safety from the Sun’s UV rays over long periods of time. We know how refreshing absorbing some Sun and fresh air is to everyone, and especially older adults. During Sun Safety Month, we want to encourage you to use safe practices while going outside.
For more information on how Christ the King Manor continues to keep our residents active inside and outside our facility, please call (814)371-3180 and contact our Activities Department.
Come back next week for another Aging Insights blog!
Author: Dominique Martino, M.A.
Title: Director of Marketing and Communications
Center for Disease Control Prevention. (2019, October 24). Many Older Adults Don’t Protect Their Skin From the Sun. In Center for Disease Control Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/research/articles/older-adults-protect-skin-sun.htm
Grabel, A. (2019, January 10). Photoaging: What You Need to Know About the Other Kind of Aging. In Skin Cancer Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.skincancer.org/blog/photoaging-what-you-need-to-know/