The sun is out, and we are feeling the spring rays in our Head Office here in Hampshire! The days become longer and the weather warmer - and some people who will feel the benefits of sunshine are elderly relatives. Spring is a good time to take your elderly loved ones outside, as exposure to the sun offers a surprising number of health benefits for the elderly. Here are just some of them:
Being in the sun encourages our body to produce vitamin D. Getting a healthy amount of this vitamin is crucial in any age. It is especially important when we get older.
Getting out in the sun helps prevent the onset of bone breakdown and fragility. One of the most common health condition amongst elderly people, osteoporosis, is often caused by the low level of vitamin D that plays an important role in calcium absorption.
Increasing the level of vitamin D can significantly reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections. This includes COVID–19!
Studies show direct link between the vitamin D deficiency and a risk of developing type II diabetes. People with the healthy amount of vitamin D remain physically active which is extremely important in preventing this disease.
Although more studies are needed to identify the role of vitamin D in maintaining a healthy heart or in cancer prevention, the initial studies show that, for both men and women, those with a higher level of vitamin D had a lower risk in developing heart diseases, or some types of cancer.
Research shows that being out in the sun for just 10 minutes per day is enough to reap all the benefits of the sunshine vitamin - a stroll in the park anyone?
Sunlight exposure boosts our mood and plays an important role in preventing anxiety and depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur during the winter months, when sunlight is rare and we spend more time indoors. The depression usually goes away once spring arrives. This is because our body produces serotonin, the hormone of happiness, in the sunlight. All this means that when it comes to improving your mood, simply getting out in the sunshine for 10 minutes may be enough.
It’s a proven fact that spending time outside during the day drastically improves the quality of sleep. The circadian rhythm on which our bodies function is essentially our natural clock. In order for it to be properly ‘set’, we must be exposed to sunlight in the day and to darkness at night. Getting more sunlight during the day encourages the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) during night-time, and makes our sleep deep and calm.
It is a scientific fact that increased sun exposure help protect against certain degenerative brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D deficiency play an important role in the onset of overall cognitive functions. That’s why we need to make sure that our elderly relatives get enough sunlight each day.
While sunlight definitely provides many health benefits to seniors, it is important to remember the potential dangers of excessive sun exposure, such as heat stroke, skin cancer and burns. Protection from the sun’s direct rays is important, especially for those with sensitive skin. Good sunscreen, wide-brim hats, and sunglasses are all essential for the elderly to get the benefits of sunlight and minimize the risk of the sun damage.
Our Live-in Carers look after people in their own homes, and ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle which ultimately leads to improved quality of life. To talk to us about Live-in Care call us on 01264 319 399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org