As the skin ages, it becomes thin, sensitive, and more prone to damage, especially during the winter months. Harsh, cold temperatures can leave aging skin dry, itchy, and cracked. Here are six ways for seniors to keep their skin healthy during winter.
1. Use Sunscreen
Winter might mean limited daylight hours and cloudy skies, but this doesn’t mean seniors should skip sunscreen. UV rays are harmful for sensitive senior skin, as they can cause skin damage and cancer. These damaging rays can penetrate windows and reflect off of snow, which means seniors should always put on some SPF 30 before stepping outside. Caregivers should always remind their senior loved one to apply sunscreen.
Dry skin and other skin issues during the winter can make it difficult for seniors to manage everyday activities. Aging adults who need help around the house, transportation to medical appointments and social events, and assistance with exercise can benefit from having an in-home caregiver. West Hartford seniors can enjoy greater independence and receive regular mental and social stimulation when relying on a trusted professional who is expertly trained in various aspects of senior care.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Seniors often experience a diminished sense of thirst. However, they should make sure to drink plenty of water in the winter, as dehydration provides the perfect breeding ground for dry, cracked skin. If they drink eight glasses of water a day, their skin will receive the replenishing hydration it needs to stay healthy. Caregivers can help by making sure their loved one is always within reach of a water bottle.
3. Turn Down the Thermostat
When seniors crank up the heat during the winter, the resulting air is extremely dry, which can sap all the moisture from the skin. Seniors shouldn’t let their thermostat go above 72 degrees, and they should supplement their HVAC system with a cozy sweater and blankets. Humidifiers can also help seniors prevent dry skin during the winter.
4. Apply Hydrating Ointments
Seniors with dry, cracked skin often discover everyday moisturizers aren’t enough to soothe their skin. If their regular skincare routines aren’t adequate, they should try hydrating ointments with petrolatum and moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and lanolin that are specially designed to protect and heal cracked, irritated skin. If cracked skin becomes too severe for over-the-counter ointments, caregivers shouldn’t hesitate to take their loved one to a dermatologist.
5. Avoid Steaming Hot Showers and Baths
After a long, cold winter day, it may be tempting to take a hot shower or bath, but high temperatures can have a negative effect on the skin. Heat causes the pores to open and allows moisture to seep out of the skin barrier. When this moisture dissipates, the skin’s natural barrier is compromised, which makes it difficult to fend off irritants, causing the skin to feel itchy. Seniors should also avoid hard water, as mineral-heavy water can irritate sensitive skin. Showerhead softeners can be used to mitigate the impact of hard water.
If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. West Hartford seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
6. Use the Right Detergent
During the coldest months, seniors should make sure to do their laundry with fragrance-free and dye-free products. If they use detergents, fabric softener, and other products with potential irritants, they are at risk for skin conditions. Caregivers who help with the laundry should make sure they always have the appropriate products for their loved one’s skin type.
Even in the extreme cold of wintertime, your loved one can stay healthy with the help of a professional caregiver. In West Hartford, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (860) 372.4500 to learn more about our services and set up a free consultation.