Patricia’s elderly mother was doing well with her senior care provider in the home after her stroke. While her mother had a stroke nearly 4 months ago, she was working hard in therapy and doing as much as she could to stay self-reliant. After a few weeks, the senior care provider let Patricia know that her mother might be struggling with eczema, a skin condition that leaves patches of dry, scaly skin. Patricia made an appointment with the doctor, determined to learn as much as she could about eczema in the elderly and how to treat it.
Eczema is a common skin condition in the senior population and is primarily caused by age-related changes to the skin. If your elderly mom has recently struggled with dry, scaly patches developing on her arms, legs, torso, or face, she may need to see a doctor. National Eczema Week is held every September, giving family caregivers a chance to learn all about this common condition. When an elderly person is diagnosed with eczema, they need to implement a better skin care regimen so that they can control the symptoms and avoid flare-ups.
Ranging from mild to serious, eczema can have a big impact on an elderly person’s quality of life. The dry patches can be quite itchy and inflamed, causing discomfort and sometimes pain. In serious cases, the eczema can cause ulcers and sores to form as the dry skin cracks open. Aging adults may also scratch their thinning skin too hard and leave wounds as they try to relieve their discomfort. Family caregivers and senior care providers can play a big role in making their aging loved one feel better.
Treatment for eczema must be managed by a doctor, as they can prescribe medicated creams, topical steroids, and ointments to help control the problem. In severe cases of eczema, the doctor may also prescribe an oral medicine. The elderly adults should have help in applying the topical medicine properly, so the eczema is under control.
Treatment for senior eczema also includes a list of preventative actions that family caregivers and senior care providers can help with. For example, hot water on the skin can aggravate eczema, so seniors should take lukewarm showers and baths. Soaps, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, perfume, and some makeup can irritate an elderly adult’s eczema if they are heavily perfumed or include a lot of dye.
Family caregivers and senior care providers can also help the aging adult keep their skin as moist as possible, which minimizes the effects of eczema. They should apply a thick moisturizer to the aging adult’s skin shortly after a bath or shower to preserve moisture. Seniors who eat right and drink plenty of water will also have healthier skin. Finally, family caregivers can set up a humidifier in the home to bring a little moisture into the air.
When it comes to caring for your aging mom’s eczema, you can get a lot of information from the doctor and the various resources available there. National Eczema Week is a wonderful time to focus on how well you are helping your elderly mom with her skin care regimen and keeping her eczema in check.