As we age, our bodies begin to change in unexpected and, sometimes, sudden ways. It’s no secret that growing older takes its toll on your body, and it’s important to be proactive to prevent further health complications.
Which brings us neatly to today’s topic: bedsores. What are they? Why do they occur so often in the elderly? And how do we prevent them? Let’s dove om!
What Are Bedsores?
Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores are sores which result from extended periods of pressure on the skin in any area of the body. More often than not, you’ll find them forming on the skin on the tailbone, ankles, and hips, as well as any other protruding areas.
Elderly people tend to experience bedsores more often than other demographics, in spite of the fact that bedsores can actually happen to people of any age. There are obvious reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that they’re usually confined to their beds for long periods of time. This immobility causes bedsores to form, often getting worse as patients age into stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Elderly Bedsores: A Closer Look
It’s important to get the best possible understanding of bedsores in order to treat and prevent them from affecting your loved ones. Some risk factors include:
- Prolonged Pressure
Extended periods of pressure on any area of skin limits the blood flow to that area. This impeded flow of blood starves the nearby tissue of nutrients and can lead to skin death.
- Extended Friction
When skin or muscles are rubbed against bedding or furniture over a long period of time, it becomes easier to injure. This is particularly dangerous for more fragile skin
Two surfaces moving in opposite directions can cause shearing. Pull your arm across a countertop and the muscles will move in one direction while your skin stays in place, pulling back against the arm. This causes shearing in brittle skin, leading to bedsores.
Because bedsores often form quickly, it’s important to know what to look out for to keep your loved ones safe and comfortable. A few things to look out for include:
- Tenderness in specific areas
- Skin texture or color changes
- Abnormally cool or warm areas
Prevention and Treatment
As with so many other areas of health treatment, prevention is usually the best cure there is for bedsores. Thankfully, they’re actually easy to keep away with some proactivity and a little insight. Try some of the following tips:
- A Pressure-Sensitive Mattress
Mattresses designed to relieve pressure are a great first step toward preventing bedsores. Some may alternate pressure automatically, while others may need manual input. Either way, these mattresses are usually worth every cent, helping to relieve pressure without requiring a lot of work from anybody involved.
- Weight Shifting
A practical step you can start using today is to simply change positions every few hours, at least, in order to relieve pressure. If your bedsores are actually wheelchair sores, shift your weight within your chair. For someone laying in bed, change sides for the same effect.
- Lift Yourself
Where possible, lift yourself up in your wheelchair to further relieve pressure on your legs and seat area.
- Clean and Dry Skin
Taking care of your skin means regularly cleaning it and drying it. This reduces moisture and waste within your skin, leading to fewer infections and healthier skin, overall.
You Don’t Have To Live With Bedsores
Bedsores can be a painful and embarrassing thing to live through, no matter your age. Luckily, with a little prevention and a lot of understanding, you can minimize and protect against these painful sores.
Interested in in-home care for your elderly loved ones? Visit Granny Nannies today, and let us help you take the steps you need for better health and improved comfort.