Around The

See What's Going On

Sun Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe This Summer

June 26, 2024

As summer approaches, the allure of sunny days draws us outdoors to enjoy the warm weather. However, for older adults, sun safety is important to consider to prevent serious health issues such as skin cancer, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Here are some essential sun safety tips to help older adults stay safe while enjoying the sunshine.

Importance of sun protection

The skin becomes more delicate and vulnerable to damage as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are at higher risk for skin cancer because of accumulated sun exposure over their lifetime. Implementing effective sun protection strategies is essential to prevent these risks.

1. Seek shade

Whenever possible, staying in the shade, especially during peak sun hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., can significantly reduce UV exposure. Planning outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon can also help minimize direct sun exposure.

2. Wear protective clothing

Wearing protective clothing is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats that cover your face, neck, and ears. Lightweight, tightly woven fabrics provide the best protection without causing overheating.

3. Use sunscreen

Applying sunscreen is essential for uncovered skin. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin, including often-missed areas like your ears, neck, tops of your feet, and the back of your hands. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

4. Wear sunglasses

Protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. This can help prevent cataracts and other eye damage linked to prolonged sun exposure. Wrap-around styles offer the best protection by blocking light from the sides.

5. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather, especially for older adults. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps maintain hydration levels. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine as they can contribute to dehydration.

6. Take breaks indoors

Taking regular breaks indoors or in shaded areas can help prevent overheating and reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses. Use air conditioning or fans to keep cool. Pay attention to how your body feels and move indoors if you start to feel overheated or dizzy.

7. Check medications

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight or affect the body's ability to regulate temperature. Consult with your healthcare provider to understand any potential side effects and adjust your sun protection routine accordingly.

8. Monitor skin for changes

Regularly check your skin for any new or changing spots, moles, or blemishes. Early detection of skin changes can lead to prompt treatment and better outcomes. Schedule annual skin checks with a dermatologist for a professional evaluation.

9. Educate and communicate

If you care for an older adult, educating them about the importance of sun protection and assisting them in adopting these practices can make a significant difference. Open communication about their comfort and well-being during outdoor activities is vital.

Practical Advice for Everyday Sun Protection

  • Dress for the occasion: Choose clothing that covers as much skin as possible and consider UV-protective fabrics.
  • Timely applications: Set reminders to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Stay informed: Keep an eye on the UV index in your area to plan your outdoor activities safely.
  • Hydrate smartly: Carry a water bottle with you and drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty.


Sun safety is essential for older adults to enjoy the outdoors without compromising their health. By seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreen, and staying hydrated, older adults can protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun. Regular skin checks and open communication about sun safety can further enhance protection and ensure a safe, enjoyable summer.