Just like other organs that don’t function as well with age, the skin isn’t resilient as it once was. Aging loved ones are more susceptible to skin irritations and problems than when they were younger. The good news is that with regular habits to promote healthy skin, seniors can reduce the risk of skin issues.
However, as seniors age, they may not be in a position to attend to their skin care needs as well as they should. That’s where home care sevices and family caregivers can step in and make sure they are doing everything they need to avoid high risk practices and do what they need to in order to keep the skin nourished and healthy.
Here are some common skin conditions in aging loved ones and what you can do about them:
Aging skin has a difficult time retaining moisture, so seniors are especially prone to dry skin. Dry air, lack of hydration and even as a result of certain conditions like diabetes can also trigger dry skin. When seniors struggle with dry skin, they often scratch it so hard that they break the skin. Not only does this look unsightly, it opens the door to wounds and infections. To help reduce the itching and discomfort, seniors can drink plenty of water, use light lotions and turn on a humidifier if needed.
Skin Coloration and Growths
From skin tags to cancerous growths, aging skin is subject to a range of things that could be serious but usually aren’t. Brown age spots are common on the hands, arms and face but pose no health issues. Flesh-colored skin tags may cause irritation but are also not harmful. All unusual growths should be reported to a doctor to make sure that skin cancer is not present. Home care services should be instructed to watch for unusual growths as they perform hygiene and grooming tasks with their elderly clients.
Wounds and Bruises
From scratches that break the skin to pressure sensitive ulcers, wounds take longer to heal in the elderly. Of course, this gives bacteria and viruses a much better chance to cause infections in their bodies. For those in frail health or that are recovering from surgery, infected wounds can cause a lot of additional health problems. Open wounds can also cause pain, frustration, stress and more in seniors. Along with open wounds, seniors might also suffer with prolonged bruising, which could take quite a bit longer to heal and may signify a serious issue internally.
Chronic Skin Conditions
Seniors can suffer from a number of skin conditions that can affect the appearance of the skin and cause pain, stinging or itchiness. Common skin conditions include psoriasis, dermatitis, pruritus, herpes zoster, xerosis and purpua, just to name a few. Seniors can also develop skin cancer, even if it has been years since they’ve spend a lot of time in the sun. From benign to serious, each of these conditions need to be treated by a doctor.
Healthy skin in seniors can make a real difference in how they combat illness, withstand infections and enjoy their day-to-day life. With a little coordination between home care services and family members, seniors can reduce the risk of common skin conditions.