Sitting or lying down for a long time can have undesirable effects on skin health. Unfortunately, around eight percent of patients in nursing homes suffer from pressure sores at some point or other, and up to 28 percent of home care patients also experience this condition. Immobile and bedridden seniors are highly susceptible to skin problems, but long-term caregivers can do a number of things to help them improve their skin health.

General Skin Age-Related Skin Changes

As people get older, their skin will undergo changes, and the skin problems they experience depend on several factors, such as lifestyle, diet, and personal habits. Skin changes among elderly people can be caused by the depletion of fatty tissue between the skin and muscles, facial movement over time, stress gravity, obesity, and bad habits such as smoking. Some examples of these changes include wrinkles, age spots, dry or roughened skin, loose facial skin, benign growths, thinned skin, and easily bruisable skin. Immobile and bedridden seniors experience these common skin changes too, but they are also more vulnerable to pressure sores.

Understanding Pressure Sores Among Seniors

If you are mobility-challenged or bedridden, you have a higher chance of developing pressure sores or bedsores. Also known as pressure ulcers, these sores are not only unsightly, they can also cause significant discomfort and pain. Sometimes, they can lead to infections such as meningitis, endocarditis, and cellulitis.

This skin condition usually occurs when too much pressure is applied to the skin on a certain part of the body. It can start developing as a reddened area on the skin that will not turn white when you press it. Then, it can turn into a sore, blister, or crater, and it may produce foul-smelling drainage.

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If you are bedridden, the areas of your body that are more likely to develop bed sores are the tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, elbows, and heels. If you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair or wheelchair, you have a chance of getting pressure sores on your buttocks, tailbone, spine, and the backs of your legs and arms.

Preventing and Managing Pressure Sores

Long-term caregivers can help to prevent and manage pressure ulcers among elderly people. First of all, you should check for symptoms every day. Early treatment is the most effective way of managing this skin problem. Also, it is important that you change the position of the patient at least once in two hours and place pillows between body parts that press against one another. Another way to reduce chances of pressure sores occurring is to keep the patient's skin dry and clean. To a certain extent, exercise can help prevent pressure sores, even if it is performed in a sitting or lying position.

Pressure sores can make life very difficult and uncomfortable for immobile and bedridden seniors. Seniors and long-term caregivers should try to detect and treat this condition as soon as possible to prevent it from getting out of hand.  

Editor's Note

If you are caring for an older family member be sure the proper steps are being taken to avoid these skins issues. For the older adult, their quality of life is directly impacted. This is why having an advance plan for long-term care will ensure you have the resources for quality care in the settings you and your family desire. Affordable Long-Term Care insurance will provide tax-free money and other services, like case management, which will add peace-of-mind for your family knowing you are receiving the proper care without creating a physical, emotional or financial burden on them.  

The best time to plan is before you retire when your overall health is better and premiums are very affordable. Long-Term Care will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. This peace-of-mind will be very valuable as you can enjoy your future retirement and your family can remain family.