Here at Wentworth Senior Living, our residents LOVE soaking up the sunshine during the summer. Whether it is taking a stroll on our property, or exploring the ever-gorgeous town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the warmer months get many of our residents excited to spend time outdoors.
The Benefits of Being Outdoors for Seniors
Aside from the fun summer activities, there are many more benefits to basking in the sun! We’ve compiled three of our favorite perks:
Experts say even just a few minutes of sun exposure 2 – 3 times per week can supply enough vitamin D to enjoy the benefits! For one, vitamin D plays a major role in good bone health, and a deficiency is linked to multiple bone-wasting diseases. It also prevents depression, and Healthline reports “a review of 7,534 people found that those experiencing negative emotions who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in symptoms. Vitamin D supplementation may help people with depression who also have a vitamin D deficiency.” Additionally, Vitamin D has been linked to fighting diseases like multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and general severe illnesses and immune health.
The ultraviolet rays that the sun gives off also serve as a great mood booster! Sunlight promotes the release of serotonin on our bodies, and effects our sleeping and eating habits, as well as our level of happiness. Concurrently, a lack of sun exposure can lead to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Exposure to the sun can also help regulate sleep cycles! Experts have identified this phenomenon as entrainment: “a person’s circadian rhythm needs to reset every day in order to stay synced with changes in light. This can occur because of changing seasons or moving to a new time zone. Research indicates entrainment takes place as a result of exposure to light and darkness.” Therefore, exposure to sunlight can help our bodies know when it is time to rest.
How Can Seniors Safely Enjoy The Sun?
We want to ensure our residents are able to enjoy the many benefits of the sun, so we have also gathered a few sun-safety tips for seniors to keep in mind!
Drink Water and Wear Sunscreen
With sunshine comes heat, and it is extremely important to stay hydrated, especially for seniors! Saber Health notes that using sunscreen as UV protection is incredibly important as well. 10am – 4pm, so it can be wise to try to limit sun exposure to the morning or evening. Regardless, it is especially important for seniors to wear SPF, as our skin gets thinner with age, therefore making seniors more susceptible to the dehydrating effects of sun exposure. We recommend wearing SPF 30 or higher, and frequently reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.
Wear Protective Clothing
As another protective layer, seniors should be sure to wear protective clothing in the sun. Donning a large hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, and shoes or socks with coverage ensures delicate skin is protected. But, since the weather is warmer, it is also important to wear comfortable, looser-fitting clothing or breezy fabrics to avoid overheating. There is even special UV-resistant clothing available to provide additional safety!
Seniors Can Safely Soak Up The Sun
Overall, it is important that our residents and local seniors understand how to safely benefit from the sun! We hope these tips help you enjoy a safe and healthy summer!