Caregiver Guide: Skin Problems

Understanding the Problem

Wrinkles and age spots are normal skin conditions that occur as a person ages. These are natural processes. Nevertheless, some older people can develop skin disorders that may turn into serious medical problems. Older skin is less oily, less elastic, and thinner. It bruises easily and can take a long time to heal when cut.

Older people will need to give their skin more care than it needed when they were younger.

It is important to use sunscreen before going outdoors at any age, even on cloudy or foggy days. This will protect against most kinds of skin cancer.  When buying sunscreen, look for a “broad-spectrum” UVA/UVB sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.  Look for ingredients such as Parsol 1789 (avobenzone), titanium oxide, or zinc oxide. The sunblock needs to be reapplied after three to four hours, more often if the person is sweating a lot or is swimming.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and shady hat also gives good protection from the sun. It is also helpful for the older person to avoid the outdoors during the sunniest hours between 10 am and 3 pm.

 Your goals are to:

  • Encourage good skin care
  • Prevent pressure ulcers and skin infections
  • Be on the alert for skin cancers
  • Call for professional help when needed

Click on each of the topics below to read more.

Last Updated July 2015

Back To Top