Of the many changes that occur in aging, bruising easily is one that may be frightening for family members to observe in senior loved ones. While it’s important to consult with the senior’s doctor whenever there’s a concern with his or her health, it is also beneficial to realize that bruising in older adults is fairly common, resulting from the thinning of the skin and a reduction of fat experienced in aging. Even a small bump or scrape may cause much more extensive bruising compared to younger skin.
Harmony Home Health & Hospice provides the following suggestions to help lessen the chances for bruising, and to help heal bruising when it occurs:
- Perform a safety assessment of the property, ensuring there are clear, wide walking paths with stumbling/tripping/bumping hazards removed. Harmony Home Health & Hospice can help assess the senior’s home for safety hazards as well.
- Encourage the person to wear long sleeves and pants when performing tasks that could result in an injury to the skin.
- In the event that the senior smokes, help him or her to give it up. Smoking decreases collagen production, which can lead to easier bruising.
- Ensure that the senior’s diet includes lots of vitamin C, which plays an important role in the creation of collagen.
- Be conscious that the medications listed below can raise the possibility of bruising (although the senior must not discontinue any medication without consulting a doctor):
- NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve)
- Anticoagulants (coumadin, heparin)
- Antiplatelet medications
- Apply a cold compress to the bruise for 20 minutes to reduce the blood flow to the area. This may reduce the size of the bruise and decrease inflammation.
- Elevate the bruised area if at all possible.
- Wrapping the area with a compression bandage can help decrease swelling.
Be sure the individual receives immediate medical help for any bruising that appears for no reason at all, particularly if a brand-new medication has been taken, or bleeding is seen in other areas of the body, such as the nose or gums.
- Bathing and moisturizing
- Inspecting the skin for changes
- Preventing bed sores
- Providing foot care for diabetics
- Incontinence skin care
- Help with ambulation to prevent falls and other injuries
- And more