The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it’s arguably the most important because it acts as a shield to protect the more delicate internal organs. When the protective layer of fat beneath the skin gradually decreases with age, skin can become dry, brittle, and more affected by the damaging rays of the sun. Luckily, a few changes to your elderly loved one’s habits can make maintaining skin health simpler.
Encouraging your parent to drink plenty of water to ensure optimal hydration is one of the most important things you can do to maintain his or her skin health. Avoiding dehydration by drinking water keeps the skin from drying and avoids “winter itch.” Some seniors experience severe dry and itchy skin during the winter months, when the weather is cold and dry. While maintaining optimal fluid intake is important, make sure your loved one avoids too much caffeine because it can cause dehydration and dry skin.
Bathe Less Often
Soap and hot water remove protective oils from the skin, causing dryness and itchiness. Bathing two to three times per week is sufficient for most aging adults, but those who exercise often, garden, or swim regularly may need to bathe more frequently to remove excess sweat, dirt, and chlorine. Encourage your loved one to try bathing less and to use warm water instead of hot.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Moisturize Immediately after Bathing
After bathing, your loved one should pat his or her body dry and immediately apply a skin moisturizer. Doing so can replace the protective oils that were lost and retain the moisture the water provided. Your loved one should continue to apply lotion throughout the day to particularly dry areas, such as the arms, hands, and legs. Because perfumed moisturizers may irritate sensitive skin, find a skin moisturizer that’s free of perfumes and dyes.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Green Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Stay Out of the Sun
The ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage delicate skin, causing sunburn, dark age spots, rough skin, dryness, and the development of small blood vessels around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which can result in excess sun exposure, so encourage your loved one to stay indoors during that time of day. Wearing sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when outdoors can minimize your loved one’s exposure and protect his or her skin.
Use a Humidifier in the Winter
During the cold winter months, your loved one’s skin may dry out more than usual, which can result in itchiness and painful cracking. Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air in your loved one’s home, which can keep his or her skin from drying out excessively.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Green Valley elder care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Call Home Care Assistance at 520-625-2050 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.