Aging Skin

Amongst the things we notice as our bodies get older is a change in our skin.  This is something we should pay attention to for not only our benefit but also for the sake of those we care for.  Most noticeably, aging skin becomes much drier and can even itch and flake.  This is a normal part of aging as our skin slowly loses its ability to retain water within the cells while also losing sweat and oil glands.  The condition can be made worse by the overuse of soaps, bathing in water that’s too hot, not staying well hydrated, smoking, constant exposure to dry air whether from heat or air conditioning, and consuming too much caffeine.  You can help prevent the dry skin and itching or scratching that often accompanies it by frequently applying moisturizers and eliminating these triggers.  If you or your loved one continues to have this problem, it may be time to consult your doctor.  Severe dry skin can be a result of some medications and it can be an indicator of other health problems like kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes.

Another issue we may notice is how quickly bruises may appear.  They also last longer because older skin is thinner and blood vessels are more fragile.  Many medications like blood thinners and NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam) cause easy bruising.  Bruises can be treated with cold compresses and by elevating any limb that has a large bruise.  Frequent unexplained bruising on the skin should definitely be addressed by a doctor.

As a caregiver, if your loved one spends a lot of time in a wheelchair or is confined to a bed, you need to be on the lookout for bedsores. These are wounds that open up on the skin when it doesn’t get an adequate supply of blood and oxygen. One of the first indicators of an emerging bedsore is severe redness on the skin that is constantly in contact with the bed or chair.  These skin ulcers can be very painful and are a perfect location for an infection to occur. You can reduce the eruption of these bedsores by making sure your loved one isn’t remaining in the same position for long periods of time.  Softer seating and a soft mattress will help relieve the pressure on the skin.  You can increase the circulation of blood in these areas with gentle massage.  In this case, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

Taking care of your skin and the aging skin of your loved one is very important. Aging skin is thinner, drier, and much more fragile.  Take care of it to prevent problems that in an older person especially can lead to infections.  Do you have any skin care tips to share?  Visit us at




Filed under Caregiver, Home Care, Personal care, Senior Care, Trillium HomeCare, Uncategorized

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