As winter approaches, many of us know all too well the feeling of dry, itchy, and cracked skin. For older adults, whose skin is often thinner and more delicate, this can be a serious issue.
Inactivity and spending a lot of time indoors can also make their skin even more fragile. As a caregiver, I know firsthand how important it is to pay close attention to winter skin care and be on the lookout for chapped lips, flaking skin, and inactivity that puts sustained pressure on fragile skin areas.
Here are some tried-and-true tips that have helped me keep my senior loved ones healthy and happy during the cold winter months:
- Moisturize: To combat dry skin, use an oil-based moisturizer on the face, hands, elbows, and feet and heels. These types of moisturizers create a protective barrier on the skin that helps retain more moisture.
I always look for lotions labeled as “night creams” or those containing “humectants” like glycerin, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxyl acids that attract moisture to the skin. Unscented and mild creams are specially recommended for aging skin.
- Lip Care: Keep lips moisturized daily, both indoors and outdoors. I always keep a lip balm nearby to keep my loved ones’ lips soft and supple.
I also find that moisturizing the air in the home with humidifiers can prevent dry skin.
- Move Around: To prevent bedsores or skin breakdown on bony areas of the body, it’s crucial to avoid prolonged sitting or lying in the same position.
My senior loved ones who use wheelchairs make sure to get up and move around at least every two hours, and those who stay in bed are encouraged to change positions frequently.
- Shower and Bathe: Avoid hot shower or bath as it can dry out the skin. Lukewarm water is better and don’t forget to moisturize after shower or bathe.
- Get some sun for vitamin D and a boost in mood: A little bit of sunlight can do wonders for your mood and overall health. Spending just 10-15 minutes in the sun each day can help boost your vitamin D levels, which can help prevent depression, cancers, and autoimmune diseases.
If possible, my loved ones spend some time outdoors each day, but we always make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect the face and eyes from direct sunlight and snow glare.
- Drinking enough water and avoiding dry air inside the house can also help with preventing dryness and inflammation.
- Consult with a dermatologist: If you experience any serious skin issues during the winter months, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.
They can recommend the best skin care products and provide personalized tips based on your skin type and issues.
By following these tips and taking a little extra care, you can help keep the seniors healthy and happy during the cold winter months.