Summer Safety For Seniors

Posted by Heidi Hays on Jul 25, 2017

In Healthy Living, Main



Here comes the sun! The weather is bringing everyone outside to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. With the warmer weather we need to be mindful of protecting ourselves from sunburn, skin cancer and Melanoma. Here are a few facts and preventative tips to help you keep you and your skin safe.




  • Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. More than 4 million cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.



  • One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes).
  • An estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017.
  • Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
  • The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 62 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 18 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.


  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.
  • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.


Ages Average Accumulated Exposure*
1-18 23 percent
19-40 47 percent
41-59 74 percent
60-78 100 percent
*Based on a 78 year lifespan


  • From ages 15-39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.
  • An estimated 52,170 new cases of invasive melanoma in men and 34,940 in women will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017.
  • An estimated 6,380 men and 3,350 women in the U.S. will die from melanoma in 2017.
  • Women aged 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.
  • Up until age 49, significantly more white women develop melanoma than white men (1 in 155 women vs. 1 in 220 men). From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. Overall, one in 28 white men and one in 44 white women will develop melanoma in their lifetimes.
  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 55.

There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent sunburn and skin cancer from happening. Try to stay out of the sun between 10am-4pm. This is when the sun is the strongest. If you have to be out and about, cover up. Wear a big brimmed hat to help protect you. Apply sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 or higher. The higher SPF, reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.

Elderly people may burn more easily. Medication they are taking might make them more sensitive to the sun. Make sure they wear higher SPF sunscreen outdoors and  keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. Why is it so important to drink water? While 2/3 of your body is made up of water, your body still needs replenish the water it has lost during the day, especially if you sweat a lot or exercise. Not only does water quench your thirst, it's important to your body and health, especially for seniors.

Water carries nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy. It can help regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints and give us healthy looking skin. Water also helps you digest and process your food better. If you can't drink a ton of water a day, juice and tea will help with dehydration. Watermelon and strawberries, vegetables and soups are a great source of water supplements. Educate yourself on the importance of water and how it can refuel your body and become beneficial to you and your health.

When you start getting older it's hard to sense thirst. Sometimes seniors don't want to drink more because they have to make more trips to the bathroom, their mobility is not great and they have a bigger risk of falling. If seniors do not get enough to drink their body could get dehydrated. Dehydration can be very serious. It can cause kidney failure and other medical problems. 

Signs of dehydration in seniors may include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Inability to sweat or produce tears
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low urine output
  • Constipation

If you suspect dehydration in an elderly loved one, you can check their skin. Pulling up the skin on the back of the hand for a few seconds; if it does not return to normal almost immediately, the person is dehydrated.

Bel Aire saw how not drinking enough water and dehydrated effected their residents, they wanted to establish a system to combat it. The Hydration Program began. Along with the fluids given to them at each meal, the residents receive a 16 oz water bottle in the morning around 10am. After lunch their water bottles are refilled, the amount they drink is tracked to make sure each resident has plenty of fluids throughout the day. Residents who live in our Memory Care unit are given 2 fluid ounces every 2 hours starting from when they wake up until they go to bed. We do this because having memory loss they forget to drink and therefore dehydration is a high risk in Memory Care residents.

With these tips and facts from  everyone should be able to keep their loved ones safe, enjoy the beautiful sunshine and have fun outdoors with friends and family. #belaireseniorliving #assistedliving #skinprotection #seniorsafety #sunprotection