Rain or Shine - Seniors Skin in the Sun

Due to the weather, it’s really difficult to take my mother to enjoy the great outdoors. What can I do to combat this?

Wilma in Pennsylvania, 56
Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can try to prepare so that your mother doesn’t have to sit inside all day. Now I’m not advocating going for a walk in 110-degree sunshine or a violent thunderstorm, but you can take some steps to enjoy the great outdoors most of the time.

If the sun is shining, applying sun block is vital. Be sure to put it on the obvious places such as the hands and the face. You also have to cover behind the ears and under the chin and nose since the sun can reflect off of various surfaces. I also make sure to lather up between the fingers and toes, behind the legs, and in any areas where the body bends. Sun block should be reapplied, especially in those areas where it can wear off or sweat off. Be sure to rub it on 30 minutes before your mother goes out so it has a chance to soak in to her skin for maximum effect. I even put sun block on my clients when I sit them near the window on a sunny day. You can still get a sunburn through the window.

I have another suggestion: umbrellas. People forget they can be used to shade someone from the sun much like they can be used to ward off rain. If your mother is in a wheelchair, an umbrella can also be affixed to the side of the chair to shield her from the sun and the rain.

Going out in a light rain can be refreshing. Make sure your mother is dressed appropriately, and be sure to walk only where it is safe underfoot. I like to buy my clients a slightly oversized rain poncho so the rain just runs off of them to the ground. I always buy them in a bright color too, since black or grey can be depressing. It’s important that you do all you can to make it possible for your mother to continue to be part of the environment. It goes a long way toward lifting her spirits.

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