Skin Needs of the Elderly
As our skin ages, it thins and becomes vulnerable to wide variety of problems. It is very important that the elderly take care of their skin because they are more susceptible to skin infection, and skin disease, due to the changes that take place to skin as we age.
As we age our skin, becomes less supple, thinner, and dryer. It also injures easier, and heals more slowly. Because of this seniors are much more prone to skin problems ranging from itching, scaling, and mild dryness, to grave skin conditions, such as: infection and ulcerations. Caregivers should understand that severe skin infection or non-healing wound in the elderly can be very serious, even fatal. If you are the caregiver for an elderly loved one, skin protection will need to become routine. Preventing serious skin conditions in the elderly not only protects their skin, but can help prevent small problems from becoming larger and more serious. It should be noted that if your loved one exhibits any skin problems they should be evaluated by their health care professional, before any treatment is started.
The first thing caregivers should know are what the most common skin conditions of the elderly are. Some of these are-
- Senile Purpura-These are the purplish spots that appear most often on the arms and legs, due to thinness of the elder person’s skin, and frailty of the capillaries, and blood vessels just below the surface.
- Stasis Dermatitis-This condition is more common in elderly women than men; it is characterized by dry, itchy skin.
- Exfoliative Dermatitis-This is a more severe form of dermatitis, than stasis dermatitis, and is characterized by excessive peeling and shedding of skin. This condition is of particular concern in the elderly, because the severe itching can lead to infections.
- Skin Infections and/or Infestations-These are bacterial infections, and parasitic infestation, such as scabies or ringworm, and are common in the elderly.
- Cancerous and non-cancerous skin growths-Any suspicious growth, or change in an existing mole or growth should be examined by an individual’s health care provider, immediately.
- Viral skin disorders-These include problems such as shingles and herpes zoster.
The bottom line is that if skin becomes too dry, it is prone to cracking and dermatitis, which allows for penetration of bacteria that can result in infection. Some skin tips for the elderly include:
- Avoiding hot baths and frequent showers
- Using only mild soaps, and gently apply moisturizers to the skin after every shower or bath
- Caregivers must take extra care to avoid, their elderly loved one developing bedsores, particularly for those who are incontinent or bed-ridden. These individuals need to be turned frequently, to avoid pressure-sensitive ulcers. And it is imperative that absorbent products and catheters be changed frequently.
- Never smoking or quit smoking as cigarette smoke has been found to be highly damaging to skin.
- Making sunblock a regular part of the skin care routine.
- Staying properly hydrated by drinking enough liquids. This is important since dehydrated skin is also vulnerable to an assortment of problems.
- Using a room humidifier during the winter and in dry climates
- Avoiding hot and dry places, such as saunas
Different lines of skin care products are designed to meet the skin care needs of seniors. This includes the Triderma line that offers medical grade effectiveness, without the expense and side effects of prescriptive products. To check it out simply click on http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/landing/triderma to view the entire skin care line.