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Dealing with Skin Irritation at the End of Life

Dealing with Skin Irritation at the End of LifeYour senior may let you know that her skin is more irritated as she’s getting closer to passing away. The skin is no longer maintained by her body the same way that it was when she was healthier, and this can create some issues for her.

Use Lip Balms and Lotions

Balms and lotions can help immensely with skin dryness and irritation. Your elderly family member’s skin is more fragile at this point and the layer of fat directly beneath the skin is much thinner than ever before. Her skin also doesn’t produce sebum at the same rates that it did in the past. Keeping her skin moisturized can help with itchiness and other problems related to irritation.

Read Ingredient Labels

Make sure that you’re reading ingredient labels for the products you use with your senior’s skin. Ingredients like alcohol can create bigger problems for her, especially related to drying out her skin further. Fragrances and colorants can be irritants, too. Try to stick with products that have very few ingredients and that are less likely to create an issue for her.

Help Her to Change Positions

Because her skin is thinner and more fragile, your senior is more susceptible to bedsores and other potential wounds. Use foam cushions and pillows to help protect particularly vulnerable areas and help your senior to change positions every couple of hours. If you’re unable to move her yourself, get help so that you don’t end up injuring yourself. Your senior may not be able to tell you when the pressure is too much in one area, so look for discolored areas. These can become bedsores later if they’re kept under pressure.

Keep an Eye on Room Temperature

Your senior’s skin might also become irritated because she has a much more difficult time maintaining the right temperature. Air circulation is important, but that means you should also keep a light blanket at the ready. Avoid using heating pads and heated blankets or throws as those can easily burn your senior’s skin by accident. Layering up a couple of blankets is a much better idea if she’s very cold.

It’s difficult to keep up with all of the changes your senior is experiencing as she nears the end of her life. Hospice care providers can help you to manage all of the different solutions that can help to protect and to care for your senior’s skin in the best way possible.

If you or an aging parent is considering hospice care in Upper Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.

Michael Drew, LNHA

Michael Drew LNHA is the administrator of Serenity Hospice PA, servicing the greater Bensalem and Philadelphia areas. In this capacity, he leads and inspires the company’s mission of providing quality and compassionate end-of-life care and supportive services for patients and their families, and to enhance their quality of life. Michael’s hallmark is his genuine concern for patients and his dedication to meeting their needs.
A veteran of providing quality healthcare, Michael has served with distinction in a variety of leadership capacities for nearly two decades, notably as administrator for several Skilled Nursing Facilities in New Jersey. Known as an innovative and solution-oriented individual, Michael has his finger on the pulse on new trends and concepts in providing quality care.