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Staying Safe while Enjoying Sunny Days

The past year has reminded us about the simple joys. Many of us found enjoyment in daily walks and mourned the loss of face-to-face conversations. We relearned the importance of everyday actions, like washing our hands and monitoring our day-to-day health. Now, that summer is here and restrictions have eased, we are all looking forward to spending more time outdoors. With warmer weather, it’s time to be smart about our days in the sun.

Suntan to sunburn to skin cancer

While there are many factors that can lead to skin cancer, repeated exposure to UV radiation increases your risk. However, less than half of older adults take the time to protect their skin from the sun’s rays while they’re outside on a sunny day.

The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old. Sun exposure is cumulative, so while we might think we get the most exposure by the end our teens or early 20s, that accounts for only about 23%. Age is another factor. Medications, radiation therapy, weakened immune systems and chemical exposure all increase your risk of skin cancer.

Beat the odds

Knowledge is power, and with technology offering a host of tools to stay cool and shield your skin, it’s easier than ever to stay safe in the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following:  

  • Seek out shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to avoid overheating and risking sunburn.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing made of fabrics that actually block harmful UV rays. Choose long pants and long-sleeve tops to get the most protection.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck.
  • Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher even on cloudy days. Don’t forget to liberally reapply it every two hours.
  • Use caution when you’re near snow, water and sand because these surfaces reflect the harmful rays.
  • Perform regular self-exams to look for new or changing moles. Consult your doctor if you see any changes or have concerns.

A caring community

While the recommended ways to protect your skin are straightforward, they are also easy to forget. We have come to accept that tan skin is a sign of health, although dermatologists see it as an injury. So, we would like to remind you that one of the many advantages of living in a community of older adults is having someone nearby who shares your needs and experiences. A community looks out for one another. Being among friends, you’re more likely to reapply that sunscreen before taking a walk when they put on theirs. Together, we can all live a healthier life.

Planned for opening in 2024*, The Village at Providence Point-A National Lutheran Community, is committed to building a supportive culture with wellness at its heart. Contact us today to learn more about our mission to help older adults live the life they love.

*Pending final approval of the Maryland Department of Aging and the City of Annapolis

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