Chronic skin conditions like eczema are more common in elderly adults because of the changes that take place to the skin. Eczema is a skin condition that can be irritating and even painful due to dry, scaly patches of skin. Family caregivers need to learn as much as they can about skin care for seniors with eczema, so they can provide some relief. National Eczema Week is a wonderful time to learn the latest in skin care treatments for this chronic condition.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is dry, patchy skin that is a result of the loss of fat and water that keeps it supple and healthy. The eczema is often itchy and inflamed. It can be very uncomfortable for the elderly person to have eczema and severe scratching can permanently damage the skin and even introduce infection. Elderly adults may develop eczema on the face, chest hands and back.
If family caregivers or home care providers notice overly dry or irritated skin on an elderly adult, they should not just assume it is a temporary thing. Eczema symptoms can be minimized with proper treatment from a doctor.
Skin Care for Seniors with Eczema
A doctor will usually prescribe a medicated ointment that family caregivers and home care providers should apply to the elderly adult’s skin. In addition, there are many different home treatments that can minimize an eczema outbreak. One of the easiest things for family caregivers to do is to use lukewarm water for showers and baths as high temperatures aren’t good for eczema. Dry air can be a problem, too, so home care providers should set up a humidifier if the elderly adult is uncomfortable.
Home care providers should avoid using products with heavy scents and dyes, such as laundry soap, body soap, fabric softener, and lotions. For extremely sensitive seniors, makeup can even both their eczema. Dehydration and poor nutrition contribute to eczema and can make a mild case of the skin condition even worse.
Other steps in a proper skin care program include checking out medication side effects. There are several medications, like allergy or blood pressure drugs, that can trigger an eczema flare-up. Genetics also play a role in whether a senior develops a serious case of eczema. In some cases, certain foods can also act as an allergen and make eczema worse. National Eczema Week in September is an excellent time for family caregivers to revise their methods of caring for an aging relative’s skin.
Eczema Skin Care is a Team Effort
Family caregivers and home care providers need to come up with some guidelines to follow when it comes to eczema and taking care of the aging adult. Because the senior is dependent on support for daily care, it’s up to others to step in and help them stay comfortable and rash-free. There’s no doubt that elderly adults that need help with personal care will also need supportive caregivers to help them treat their eczema.