Healthy skin is important, no matter what age or stage of life a person is. However, elderly adults are all too frequently unaware and uninformed about what it takes to maintain healthy skin. Septembers is National Skin Care Awareness Month, which is the perfect time for family caregivers, elderly care providers and the seniors themselves to learn about what it takes to keep skin healthy.
Why is Healthy Skin So Important?
Family caregivers have an extra responsibility when it comes to keeping their elderly relative’s skin as healthy as possible. Skin is the largest organ of the body and it protects the rest of the body in many ways. The skin prevents dehydration, contains body fluids and guards against microbes. It produces vitamin D, controls body temperature and holds nerve endings that sense heat and cold.
With elderly adults, the skin should be kept as healthy as possible. Seniors are more likely to develop diseases and get infections, so healthy skin can keep them healthier in the long run. With age, a person’s skin becomes duller, thinner and full of lines, wrinkles and age spots. There are many conditions that can develop in the skin, from psoriasis and eczema to skin cancer. Family caregivers and elderly care providers should focus on proper skin care for elderly adults.
How to Care for Aging Skin
If family caregivers and elderly care providers want to incorporate a good skin care routine for their elderly relative, they can start with ensuring that the senior’s skin isn’t dry. Dry skin, also called xerosis, is quite common in the elderly because of age-related changes to the skin. Having dry skin can certainly lead to other complications and trigger deep scratching. If the senior scratches too hard, they could cause a wound, which also increases the risk for infection. Applying lotion regularly can eliminate the dryness and stop their need to scratch.
Sometimes, aging adults don’t take care of their own skin well and take very hot baths and showers. This dries out the skin and exacerbates skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Instead, family caregivers and elderly care providers should encourage lukewarm water. Also, seniors don’t need to scrub themselves harshly or use highly scented and dyed soaps. A gentle body wash is sufficient to keep the whole body clean. Moisturizing lotion applied morning and night will also help.
If family caregivers and elderly care providers notice some unusual skin conditions with the patient, they should set up an appointment with a specialist. When the skin is dry, dull, and full of sores and blisters, scaly or flaky, the aging adult needs to see a doctor. Any of these conditions could mean a skin disease or it could even be a symptom of something more serious.
The skin may not seem to be of much importance when it comes to senior health, but it is a vital part of their overall wellness. During National Skin Care Awareness Month, family caregivers and elderly care providers can focus once again on proper skin care.