While a great deal of emphasis is placed on senior health, and for good reason, there is one area that’s less often stressed but equally important: senior skin care. Senior skin problems can be much more serious than simply dryness or flaking. Some of the top skin concerns for seniors, and how to prevent them, include:
More fragile blood vessels in senior skin means a greater chance for extensive bruising, which can occur even in minor injuries or at times, when there’s been no injury at all.
You can ease the discomfort of bruises by placing a cold compress on the bruised area to reduce the inflammation and size of the bruise, and elevate the area if possible. Additionally, be aware of certain medications that can lead to more bruising, such as over the counter NSAIDs and prescribed blood thinners. Talk with the senior’s doctor if any bruising is noted while he or she is taking these medications.
Pressure sores are common in seniors who are bedbound or who spend a lot of time in one position in a wheelchair, and can be extremely painful as well as enhance the risk for infection.
Prevent bed sores by repositioning a sedentary senior at least every two hours, especially relieving pressure on the senior’s heels, ankles, elbows, back, and tailbone. Foam or gel mattress toppers can also help.
Check the senior’s skin often, and if any pressure sores are noted, keep the wounds clean and dry, and talk with the doctor or a nurse from Nightingale Homecare for assistance with treatment.
Shingles are an extremely painful and uncomfortable rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Signs of shingles include pain, numbness, tingling, or burning, along with blistering.
See the doctor immediately if shingles are suspected, as there are prescriptions medications that can help with pain and discomfort, as well as in accelerating the healing process. The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination.
Seniors are particularly at risk for three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Watch for any changes in the skin, including moles that are asymmetrical, more than one color, have irregular edges, or have changed in any way. A doctor or dermatologist can perform regular skin exams to catch and treat skin cancer early.
Note as well that senior skin problems can arise from other serious health concerns, such as heart or liver disease, diabetes, malnutrition, and more.
Nightingale Homecare, the top provider of Phoenix in-home care, as well as throughout the surrounding area, is always here to help ensure seniors stay healthy, safe, and well, including monitoring a senior’s skin for any changes or concerns. Contact us for a free in-home consultation any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our home health care services for seniors.