A common misconception is that sun exposure is only harmful over long periods of time. This is, unfortunately, not the case, and for those in seniors independent living in Red Deer, Spring sun exposure should be managed.

It is vital that we continue to take care of ourselves, to keep us as strong and healthy for as long as possible. Every sunburn that we have gotten over the course of our lives continues to damage the skin’s DNA, causing tissue to age quicker and increase the risk of skin cancers. For seniors who have avoided skin cancer so far, one more bad burn may be enough to trigger this – so it is best avoided. For those who have already suffered from skin cancer, more exposure can cause it to return or even worse, so exposure must be managed.

The first line of prevention is avoidance. The sun’s UV index tends to be higher in the late morning to mid afternoon (between 10 and 3). Because of this, it is best to stay indoors or avoid areas with direct sunlight during these hours whenever possible.

It is impossible to fully avoid being exposed during these hours for those in residential care in Red Deer. If you must be outside or in the sunlight during these times, there are some other steps you can take to protect yourself.

– Use sunscreen – make sure to regularly apply the sunscreen, and choose one with a high SPF number of at least 30+.
– Wear a hat – the top of your scalp and face are very vulnerable, even when covered with hair. Wear an outdoor sun hat to keep the sun off.
– Protect your eyes – Your eyes can also be damaged by the sun’s UV rays. Wearing proper sunglasses can limit exposure, keeping your eyes from being damaged as well.

It is very important that you continue to take care of and protect your skin, even in your later years. By following these simple suggestions, you will continue to have strong, young and healthy skin, for decades to come.

Find out more about sun safety at Health Canada, Sun Safety.