Being outdoors helps keep you active, and it can have an overall
positive effect on your physical and mental health. But it can also be
dangerous. This is especially true for seniors, so precautions are
That being said, exposure to Vitamin D you get from the
sun can have positive effects on all of us. Scientists believe that
this wonder vitamin can do everything from help fight depression to
reduce the risk of heart attack and cancer. Of course, it’s long been
known to improve strength, balance and bone health. All of this makes
Vitamin D especially important for seniors, many of whom do not get
nearly enough (the daily recommended allowance for those over 70 is 800
And while sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, it also
comes with its own downsides, particularly the risk of skin cancer,
which increases as you age. Seems like a Catch-22, right? That’s why
Home Instead Senior Care of the Southeast Valley has put together the
following hints to help you successfully solve the Great Sun Conundrum.
experts disagree on whether any exposure to sun is safe. Some say that
people need from 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure to the skin on your
face, arms, back or legs (without sunscreen) two times every week to get
the Vitamin D they need from the sun. Others, including many
dermatologists, say that no amount of exposure is a good idea. Play it
safe by always wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher when
outdoors (even on gloomy days). Chances are, you will probably get
enough incidental sun to cover your 5-30 minutes.
• Ensure your
diet is rich in Vitamin D by consuming lots of oily fish (salmon, trout,
orange roughy, sardines and tuna all fit the bill), egg yolks, if
cholesterol is not an issue, and Vitamin D-enriched dairy products and
juices. Also, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.
outside, always be sure you are getting plenty of water. Dehydration is a
huge problem for seniors and can occur more quickly during the summer
• Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and neck
and choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays
for extra protection around your eyes.
• Plan your senior’s outdoor time for early in the day before the extreme heat of the day.
For more information and senior safety advice, contact Home Instead Senior Care at 480-827-4343 or visit us on Facebook.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.