January 8th is National Winter Skin Relief Day. As a family caregiver, it is extremely important for you to understand how dangerous dry and irritated skin can be for an elderly adult. Seniors tend to have skin that is more vulnerable, thinner, dryer, and more easily damaged than that of younger people. This can then make them vulnerable to infections that further compromise their immune system and can potentially put them at risk for further illness and infection.
Proper skin care is a vital first step in protecting skin health and counteracting the effects of winter skin to guard your loved one as they age in place.
Use these tips to provide fast relief on National Winter Skin Relief Day and throughout the cold weather season:
- Add a humidifier to your senior’s home to help diminish the effect of dry winter heating.
- Encourage your senior to bathe using glycerin soap. This is highly moisturizing and traps moisture in the skin. Be sure to apply high quality moisturizer immediately after bathing to further trap this moisture.
- Another good cleansing option is to choose one with moisturizing benefits such as oils and aloe.
- For very dry, chapped hands, warm olive oil gently in the microwave and allow your parent to soak their hands for a few minutes. Lightly pat to remove excess oil and put on a pair of cotton gloves and allow to sit for up to an hour before for gently washing.
- Use a hand mixer to whip up vegetable shortening with the contents of one vitamin E capsule and apply a small amount to very dry skin.
It is important to encourage your parent not to spend too much time in the bath or shower, and to use warm water rather than hot, as too much water and heat can further dry and irritate the skin.
Starting home care can be one of the best decisions you make for your aging parent as they age in place. A caregiver from an agency can provide completely customizable services that address their challenges and needs in the ways that are right for them. Having access to caregiver services can relieve your stress, boost your confidence, and allow you to focus on other aspects of your life as well as your parent in the most effective ways possible.