Winter is here, which means the air is drier and colder, and everyone’s skin is more prone to becoming damaged. This is especially true for seniors, as their skin may already be on the dry side. However, if not protected and treated, it can lead to itching, cracking, flaking, and even bleeding. Use the following tips to help your aging loved one protect his or her skin during winter.
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the best ways to prevent your loved one’s skin from drying out is to start from the inside. Make sure he or she is consuming plenty of liquids during the day. Most people tend to drink more during the hot summer months, so it may take a little extra effort when it’s cold outside. Dehydration can lead to dry, irritated skin and cause many other health issues. Encourage your loved one to aim for eight glasses of water a day. Keep a checklist by the refrigerator to count.
If you’re worried about your loved one staying hydrated and healthy this winter, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In New Hampshire, 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.
2. Take Shorter Baths
It may seem counterintuitive, but spending time submerged in water can actually dry out the skin. Encourage your loved one to take shorter baths or showers. Keep the water temperature within a comfortably warm range. If your loved one washes dishes, buy a set of protective rubber gloves to wear while performing the chore. Consider substituting hand sanitizer in place of washing hands repeatedly when possible.
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. New Hampshire seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
3. Keep Skin Clean and Moisturized
Always make sure your loved one’s skin is kept clean with a mild cleanser or soap that includes a moisturizer, especially if the skin is already dry. After washing or showering, have him or her apply lotion or ointment to spots that tend to be dry, like the face, hands, and feet. Avoid moisturizers that have allergens or fragrances that may irritate the skin.
4. Try a Humidifier
When the air outside is dry, there’s a chance the air inside is dry as well. Consider buying a humidifier for your loved one’s home. A humidifier can help with dry skin issues, as well as breathing issues caused by the dry air. Make sure to clean the humidifier once a week to ensure mold and bacteria do not build up inside of it.
5. Protect the Skin When Going Outdoors
When your loved one goes outside, make sure he or she covers as much skin as possible by wearing long sleeves and pants, a hat, sunglasses, gloves, a scarf, and anything else necessary to protect skin from the wind and dry air. Exposure, especially on windy days, can dry the skin out quickly.
6. Stay Out of the Sun When Possible
The sun may be the last thing on your loved one’s mind on a cold winter day, but it can be just as harmful in January as it is in July. This is especially true in places where it snows, as the white ground reflects the rays. Make sure your loved one continues to apply moisturizer or lotion with sunscreen before going outdoors.
By following these strategies, seniors can minimize skin issues in the winter months and keep several age-related health conditions at bay. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver. A New Hampshire caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns. Call Home Care Assistance at (603) 471-3004 to schedule a free in-home consultation.