senior lady looking at arm bruise

It happens to all of us, particularly as we grow older. Perhaps while vacuuming, we bump into the edge of the coffee table, never giving it a second thought. Nevertheless, by the next day, a patch of sunset-colored shades has spread all over the wounded area. How could such a nasty bruise result from such a minor accident?

While it may look alarming, bruising in the elderly is relatively common. Thinning skin along with a decrease in body fat often means that even a small abrasion or bump may result in more substantial bruising than it might for younger skin.

For those who are caring for older parents and loved ones, the elder care team at Grace Home Care shares the following ideas to help decrease the chances for bruising, and to help bruises heal better when they do occur:

Avoiding Bruises:

  • Assess the older adult’s home, both indoors and outdoors, to make sure that there are wide, clear walkways. Get rid of any hazards that may make the person fall, trip, or bump into objects. Grace Home Care offers safety evaluations as well, to be sure all bases are covered.
  • Encourage the older adult to wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when they are performing tasks which could cause damage or stress to the skin.
  • If the senior is a smoker, help them stop. Smoking adversely impacts the body’s ability to produce collagen, which can lead to easier bruising.
  • Make certain the person’s diet contains ample amounts of vitamin C, which plays an important role in the production of collagen.
  • Recognize that certain medications can raise the risk of bruising (but know too that the senior should never cease taking any medication without talking to a doctor):
    • Aspirin
    • NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen)
    • Anticoagulants (coumadin, heparin)
    • Corticosteroids
    • Antiplatelet meds

Helping Bruises to Heal:

  • Put a cold pack on the bruised spot for 20 minutes to decrease blood flow to that location. This can help decrease the dimensions of the bruise while decreasing inflammation.
  • If possible, elevate the bruised area.
  • Wrap the bruise with a compression bandage to minimize swelling.

If a bruise occurs for seemingly no reason, or if you are at all alarmed by a certain bruise, contact the doctor immediately. This is particularly pressing if the person has begun taking a new medication, or if bleeding is occurring in the gums, nose, or other area of the body.

At Grace Home Care, our care providers are here to help older people continue to enjoy an energetic lifestyle while decreasing the risk of injury. Some of the many ways we achieve this are through:

  • Help with baths/showers and other personal care needs, such skin care
  • Support and help as required with transferring or walking
  • Ensuring a tidy and organized home environment that is free of fall hazards
  • Engaging together in exercise programs to improve balance and strength
  • Watching for and reporting any changes in condition immediately
  • And more

Contact us any time for more tips on senior skin issues and to find out about how our full array of personalized in-home care services throughout Topeka can make caring for older parents easier. We’re pleased to offer a cost-free in-home assessment at your convenience. Contact us today at 785-286-2273 and let us know how we can assist!