Winter weather is extremely tough on skin, often leaving it dry and irritated. This is due to the extreme temperatures and reduced moisture levels in the air. With elderly adults, dry winter skin can be especially irritating and even painful. Family caregivers and elderly care providers can work together to prevent dry winter skin from developing in the elderly adult. Each area of the body is prone to developing certain dry skin problems, but there are plenty of ways to be proactive to help the aging adult feel comfortable in their skin and stay healthy during winter.
When the skin is dry, it can cause a lot of itching and discomfort. Often, when elderly adults experience dry skin, they scratch themselves to hard, which causes redness and irritation, making it worse. In some cases, seniors can scratch so hard that they break the skin, which opens them up for infection and wounds that are slow to heal.
The best way to keep the body free from dry skin is to moisturize it right after getting out of a shower or bath. Family caregivers and elderly care providers can assist seniors in applying a quality moisturizing cream before getting dressed to lock in moisture and restore suppleness to the skin. Seniors may need additional moisturizing later in the day for exceptionally dry areas like the feet, elbows and knees.
Dry hands are perhaps the hardest area to maintain in winter weather, mostly because they get washed so frequently to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses like influenza or the common cold. Seniors should wash their hands in lukewarm water using fragrance-free and dye-free soap and pat them dry with a towel. They should use a light lotion after every time they wash their hands.
For intensive moisturizing treatment, seniors can use a thicker cream on their hands just before bed. They can wear light cotton gloves as they sleep to infuse the skin with moisture.
Chapped lips are not only uncomfortable, but quite painful when they develop cracks and sores. The best way to prevent this is to keep them moisturized with a high-quality lip balm. Avoid waxy Chapstick and flavored or dyed lip treatment options. Family caregivers and elderly care providers can remind the aging adult to apply the lip balm throughout the day, especially after eating.
If the aging adult needs to go outside, they should cover the lower part of their face with a scarf to prevent the lips from drying out. They should also avoid licking their lips or otherwise wetting them as that evaporates quickly and dries the skin out even faster.
Family caregivers and elderly care providers must work together to create a skin care regimen for the aging adult to combat harsh winter conditions, both indoors and out. When the skin is properly cared for in elderly relatives, family caregivers can have peace of mind that they are doing everything they can to keep their loved one healthy and comfortable.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering professional elderly care in Bethesda, MD, please call the caring staff at Global Hands Inc. Call today 240-264-0769.