Though the elderly have often been warned about the dangers of getting too much sun, taking a balanced approach to sun exposure can actually have a positive effect on a senior’s overall health. Toronto 24-hour care experts discuss a few of the ways sunlight can boost your senior loved one’s health.
Vitamin D Production
Many seniors have degenerative bone diseases such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and low levels of vitamin D can exacerbate symptoms of these conditions, including pain, limited mobility, and morning stiffness. Getting vitamin D via natural sunlight instead of taking supplements may be a better option for some seniors. High doses of supplemental vitamin D can lead to dangerously elevated levels of serum calcium, which can negatively affect your loved one’s cardiovascular health.
Getting enough exposure to natural sunlight may prove beneficial if your loved one experiences depression or other mood disorders because it can help increase serotonin levels in his or her brain. Serotonin and endorphins are also known as “feel-good” chemicals. When levels of these substances are low, symptoms of depression, sadness, apathy, and anxiety may increase.
The warmth of the sun can help your loved one overcome musculoskeletal pain and increase joint mobility. The extra vitamin D production provided by natural sunlight may also help ease the discomfort of chronic conditions. Another way sun exposure can help decrease pain is by reducing stress and boosting mood. Stress hormones can intensify your loved one’s perception of pain and lead to tense muscles and inflammation.
Elderly people sometimes develop pale skin or sallowness as a result of ill health, medications, lack of exercise, poor diet, and anemia. If your loved one appears pale, he or she may be more apt to believe he or she is ill. When a healthy glow is restored, your loved one may not only look better, but feel better too. While getting enough sunlight is important in maintaining optimal health, too much sun exposure raises the risk of skin cancer, especially in seniors with fair complexions and light eyes.
Reaping the benefits of the sun involves taking some preventive measures to avoid overexposure. To learn some tips for keeping your loved one safe in the sun, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of hourly and live-in care in Toronto, and our caregivers are trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important daily tasks. For more information on in-home care Toronto seniors can rely on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (416) 488-8777 to schedule a free in-home consultation.