Senior couple sitting by tree

Sun Safety Tips for Seniors

It is almost summertime and people of all ages want to enjoy some fun in the sun. And while the warmth of the sun’s rays may feel good while you enjoy outdoor pools, picnics and family time, it is important to remember that prolonged time in the sun may come with risk. Overexposure to the sun is actually to blame for many of the changes to your skin that people often attribute to normal aging. The sun’s ultraviolet, or UV, light can damage the elastin fibers in the skin, causing skin to stretch, sag and bruise easily.

As you age and become more aware of the effects of the sun, you may begin to wonder about the risk of skin cancer. Can sitting in the sun cause cancer? Can one bad sunburn cause cancer? What are the chances of getting cancer from the sun? Can the sun give you cancer at 60?

If you enjoy spending time outside and are concerned about your risk of skin cancer, it helps to understand the link between aging and skin cancer, as well as sun safety tips for seniors.


It is estimated that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70. While most squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas appear after the age of 50, having five or more sunburns can double your risk for developing melanoma. And, in recent years, the number of people over the age of 65 with some form of skin cancer has increased. So, is there a connection between aging and skin cancer? Here are a few facts that may explain the correlation:

  • The increasing number of skin cancer cases in seniors may be due to improved screening and patient education efforts.
  • Some medications taken by seniors may increase your sensitivity to the sun, which also increases your risk of sunburn.
  • Time in the sunshine is often encouraged for seniors. Spending time in the sun may help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, exposure to sunlight stimulates vitamin D in the skin; seniors are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency due to the natural aging process.
  • Many seniors move to sunnier climates for retirement, which vastly increases UV exposure. Because UV light suppresses the immune system, this exacerbates your natural decline in immune function and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.


No matter your age, it is important to take steps to make your time in the sun safer. At Carnegie Village Senior Living Community, we understand the risks and benefits of time in the sun and are ready to support your lifestyle, while keeping you sun-safe. If you are a senior or a caregiver, here are some sun safety tips for seniors to keep you healthy while enjoying the summer:

  • Dress to protect your skin. Seniors have more fragile skin, which means it is important to keep it safe outside. Wear long sleeves that cover your arms and pants that that cover your legs. Add a floppy hat that protects your face from the sun. At The Atriums Senior Living Community, our outdoor meeting areas and eating areas are perfect for soaking up the fresh air, while enjoying some protective shade.
  • Wear sunscreen. Even if it is cloudy, the sun can still damage your skin. Wear sunscreen outside every time, no matter how briefly you are outdoors. Most experts suggest using a sunscreen with a sun protectant factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher.
  • Drink plenty of water. Spending time out in the heat triggers your sweat response and, while sweating may help you feel cool, it can also dehydrate you. Drinking water is the best way to prevent dehydration, so keep your water close by and sip it often, even if your activity level is low.
  • Stay alert. Seniors frequently feel cold and may want to sit in the sun to keep warm. This is not recommended. You should avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day to avoid overheating.

Additionally, seniors may not get sweaty or red in the face due to sun overexposure. Check in with your senior loved ones to see how they are feeling and take them in immediately if they feel light-headed or nauseous.


By offering everything from fitness programs to nutritious, delicious meals and health education, the team at Tutera Senior Living & Health Care is ready to meet your needs and support your health and lifestyle goals. As part of our resident-centered services at our communities like Carnegie Village and The Atriums, we create an individualized care plan that includes assistance with activities of daily living, mobility assistance, medication management and much more.

Interested in finding a Tutera location near you? Use our location finder to learn more about all our communities. Or contact us today to learn more about our care and our services!

learn more by clicking on the community links below:

The Atriums Senior Living Community
Carnegie Village Senior Living Community
Mission Chateau Senior Living Community
Moweaqua Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
St. Paul's Senior Community
Tiffany Springs Senior Living Community
Victory Hills Senior Living Community