How to Help Your Elderly Loved One Prevent Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer is a very real concern for the elderly. It’s estimated that about 40 to 50 percent of Americans age 65 and older will have had skin cancer. In addition to helping your aging loved one prevent skin cancer, it’s important to encourage him or her to see the doctor or a dermatologist regularly to get checked out for suspicious spots. Here are a few ways you can help your elderly loved one prevent skin cancer.

Encourage Wearing Sunscreen Daily

For daily wear, SPF 15 should be fine. If your loved one will be outside for an extended time, SPF 30 or higher is better. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours spent outdoors. If you’re taking your loved one out for a swim, make sure to bring along waterproof sunblock. People who have very light skin may need a higher SPF, as fair skin is more prone to sun damage.

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Talk About Staying Indoors During Peak Sunlight Times

The sun is the brightest from ten in the morning until about four in the afternoon, and skin can receive the most damage within this timeframe. If your loved one does go out during the peak sunlight times, remind him or her to take proper precautions.

Suggest Covering Up When Outdoors

Sun hats and straw hats offer the best protection against sunlight. For clothes, lightweight cottons in light colors cover the skin without causing your loved one to overheat. Long sleeves and pants are best for blocking harmful rays from the sun.

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Discuss the Dangers of Sunbathing

To decrease his or her risk of developing skin cancer, your loved one should avoid sunbathing. In the past, sunbathing was a very common habit, as being tan was popular and most people didn’t know the dangers of excessive sun exposure. Now that more is known about the dangers of sunbathing, it’s important to avoid this habit.

Watch for Suspicious Spots or Growths

Look for any unusual spots and growths on your loved one’s head, neck, arms, and legs. Getting treatment early on for potential skin issues can make a big difference in whether skin cancer progresses, so this is something to keep a close eye on. Look for moles or growths that are larger than a pencil eraser, have irregular borders, or change color or shape. Lumps underneath the skin should also be noted and reported to your loved one’s medical team.

Skin cancer is one of the most serious health issues among the elderly. Seniors living with serious health conditions often need extensive assistance in and outside the home. Home Care Assistance is a trusted provider of 24-hour care. Green Valley Home Care Assistance provides caregivers who are expertly trained to assist seniors with bathing, grooming, light housekeeping, and various other daily tasks, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging loved one, give us a call at 520-625-2050 today.