Fall River Jewish Home

Sunscreen Tips for Older Adults in Massachusetts

Now that summer is finally in full swing, Massachusetts seniors and their caregivers are likely spending more time outdoors. We thought we would take a few minutes this week to share sunscreen safety tips, and the risks the sun creates for seniors. These tips are especially important if your aging loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss and needs extra care to stay safe.

Sun Risks for Seniors

A few of the reasons seniors are at higher risk for sunburn and sun poisoning include:

  • Thinner, more fragile skin
  • Side effects of medications that increase sun sensitivity
  • Growing up in a generation that didn’t use sunscreen

To help you better understand when sunscreen should be applied and how much, we’ve put together a few myths and facts about summer sun safety.

Common Myths about Sunscreen

Myth: You don’t need to apply sunscreen if it is a cloudy day.

Fact: Even on days when you can’t feel the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, they are still there. Don’t let the clouds fool you. It is still important to apply sunscreen.

Myth: My mother has a Vitamin D deficiency so she needs sunlight and shouldn’t wear sunscreen.

Fact: Talk with her primary care physician. He or she will likely tell you that if your mother will be outdoors longer than ten minutes, she should wear sunscreen.

Myth: My 88 year old father believes that when he will be outdoors but not exercising or doing any strenuous physical activity, applying sunscreen only in the morning is enough. He doesn’t want to “waste” it.

Fact: Dermatologists recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours regardless of what you are doing outdoors. They suggest applying the equivalent of about two tablespoons of sunscreen each time with about a nickel size amount going on your face alone.

Myth: Sunscreens are all alike.

Fact: Not all sunscreens are created equal. Be sure to find one that is labeled “Broad Spectrum.” It means it will protect your senior loved one from both UVA and UVB rays.

Myth: If I use a sunscreen with a really high SPF, I won’t have to apply it as often.

Fact: A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 protects you from 97% of the sun’s rays. After that, the protection doesn’t change much. Even those sunscreens with higher SPF still need to be reapplied every two hours to be effective.

We hope this information helps you and your senior family member stay safe in the Massachusetts sun this summer!

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

Is there a myth that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below!

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