Promoting Sun Safety in Your Community: Senior Centers

The odds of developing skin cancer rise as you age; in fact, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have at least one skin cancer. Older white men are at particular risk: Caucasian men over the age of 65 have had an 8.8 percent annual increase in melanoma incidence since 2003, the highest annual increase of any gender or age group. Melanoma will kill an estimated 5,700 men in the US in 2011.

Many older adults think that there’s no point in protecting themselves since the damage has been done, but it’s never too late to help prevent further damage and lower your skin cancer risk. Read about The Skin Cancer Foundation’s tips for helping seniors stay sun-safe, below:

  • Distribute brochures and display posters from our Health Fair Kit in senior center common areas like lobbies, dining rooms, gyms, and restrooms to promote sun safety.

  • Use an event like Senior Citizens’ Week as an opportunity for educating older adults about sun-safe behaviors.

  • Encourage visitors and residents to wear protective clothing, wear broad-brimmed hats and UV-filtering sunglasses on outdoor excursions.

  • Encourage the application of water-resistant, SPF 30 or higher sunscreen before excursions.

  • Review available shade in the building or complex. Consider applying UV-blocking film to windows in common areas.
     
  • Schedule outdoor excursions and other activities to avoid the hours between 10 AM and 4 PM.  Ensure that there are frequent “shade breaks,” or times to rest in sheltered areas.

  •  Educate staff to give appropriate advice on the early detection of skin cancers.

  • Work with local medical organizations to offer a skin cancer screening at local centers.