Seniors are more susceptible to certain skin conditions due to their age.
Other factors such as genetics, overall health, and lifestyle habits also affect their skin.
As caregivers, it's our role to ensure our elders are comfortable and healthy. That's why we need to catch skin problems before they get worse.
Today, I'll be sharing five skin conditions seniors suffer from.
I'll discuss recognizing and avoiding them to keep our seniors' skin healthy.
Let's get started.
Our skin is our first line of defense against harmful elements.
But as we age, the skin loses much moisture and elasticity. Because of this, our skin becomes prone to irritants and breakage.
It is natural for the skin to go through changes with age.
However, certain factors affect our body's ability to repair and regenerate damaged cells. Smoking, drinking, stress, disease, and lack of sleep contribute to this.
As caregivers, we are responsible for keeping our seniors safe and healthy.
Recognizing skin conditions is a vital part of that responsibility.
Even scratches, bruises, and bumps can be signs of something more severe beneath the surface.
By proactively caring for their skin health, we reduce the chance of potential diseases or complications developing down the line.
Seniors often face a unique set of skin-related issues due to aging, such as age spots and wrinkles.
However, common conditions that can be seen in older adults include psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, and actinic keratosis – all of which require proper medical care, given their potential severity.
Let's take a look at the most common ones today.
Older adults may be more prone to certain skin infections, such as cellulitis and thrush.
Cellulitis is a skin condition caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. These bacteria get into the skin through cuts or lesions.
Thrush is a yeast infection usually found on moist surfaces like the groins or under the breasts.
Seniors can also get thrush in the mouth, where a white coating appears on the tongue or the gums.
These symptoms can also be an underlying effect of chronic illnesses like diabetes or obesity.
Dry skin, or xerosis, can create persistent itching in the elderly.
The most common culprit is low humidity and soap irritation.
Some people can have allergic reactions to detergents and antibacterial soaps. Elders are more prone to these irritants due to moisture loss in their skin.
Frequent washing and bathing can also contribute to this condition. It strips away most of the skin's moisture, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and itching.
At first glance, psoriasis and eczema can appear similar due to their shared symptom of dry skin.
However, subtle differences between these two conditions help differentiate one from the other.
Psoriasis often occurs in adults. They usually appear as red patches with white, scaly surfaces.
These patches often affect the scalp and other body parts.
There is no known cause why psoriasis happens, despite how common it is. However, it can be triggered skin damage, stress, hormonal changes, and medication.
Skin cancer is a severe skin condition that can affect seniors in several ways.
It usually goes unnoticed, but there are tell-tale signs you can look out for.
Some red flags include sudden and sustained skin color or texture changes.
Skin lesions, moles, skin tags, or open sores that don't heal can also be early indications of cancer.
It is said that lifelong exposure to the sun can also lead to skin cancer. Exposure to radiation, chemicals, and even one's genetics can increase the chances of getting it.
If cancer is a concern, look into the ABCDE's to know if you need to see a dermatologist.
Eczema is a skin condition that primarily affects older adults.
While eczema can present itself in many different ways, the primary symptoms are red, dry patches of skin that become rough and scaly over time.
In severe cases, it can lead to a burning or painful sensation in the affected area and swelling and blistering.
Other eczema-related symptoms include itching, which can lead to night waking and disturbed sleep patterns.
Eczema can also cause skin thinning, resulting in permanent marks on the affected areas.
Rashes around the eyes can cause vision problems and inflammation. Seniors can also experience fatigue due to their immune systems being compromised.
Skin conditions are often viewed as minor health concerns.
But as caregivers, we know that even the smallest changes in our loved ones' skin can be signs of a more serious underlying disease.
That's why it's important to constantly monitor for any changes in your senior's skin condition, no matter how small.
In our next post, we'll share tips on caring for your loved one's skin and when to seek medical attention.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe at home and have a great day!