How to Prevent Pressure Sores in Seniors

Female caregiver helping senior man
These tips can help you prevent pressure sores in aging adults.

One in ten seniors experience pressure sores, and they are even more common in individuals who smoke, are living with a chronic illness such as diabetes, or who have fragile or thin skin. Pressure sores are not merely extremely painful – they can easily progress to infections that can become life-threatening.

Pressure sores, also known as bed sores, can occur when someone stays in one position for an extended period of time, reducing blood flow. For people with decreased mobility or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, the battle against pressure sores can seem endless. However, it is crucial for those providing care for a senior loved one to learn as much as possible about pressure sore prevention.

So how can pressure sores be prevented? The following tips can help protect a senior’s sensitive skin from dangerous and painful sores:

Change Positions Often
  • Assist the aging adult in changing positions every few hours if confined to a bed, or every hour if wheelchair-bound.
  • Use lifting devices to avoid friction while repositioning.
Use Supportive Devices
  • Place specialized pads and cushions:
  • Underneath calves to guard the heels
  • In between knees and ankles
  • To lie at an angle, protecting hips
Maintain Regular Skin Care
  • Clean the skin with a gentle soap and warm water, and apply lotion.
  • If the skin is exceedingly moist, apply talcum powder.
  • Massage areas subject to pressure sores to enhance circulation.
Help Them Maintain a Balanced Diet and Active Lifestyle
  • Encourage the individual to quit smoking.
  • Check with the person’s doctor for dietary and supplement tips for optimum skin health.
  • Improve hydration.
  • Implement exercises each day per doctor’s recommendations.

If the person develops a pressure sore in spite of taking the proper precautions, it may progress through these stages:

  • Stage 1: A bruise-like patch will develop on the skin which may be warmer than the surrounding skin. The area might burn or itch.
  • Stage 2: An open sore appears from the bruise. This could look like a blister or abrasion and be discolored and painful.
  • Stage 3: As the sore becomes worse, the surrounding skin darkens and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4: In this stage, damage occurs to the bone, muscle, and/or joints, and a bone infection known as osteomyelitis or even sepsis (a life-threatening infection of the blood) may occur.

Reach out to the aging adult’s physician immediately if a pressure sore develops. Heaven at Home Senior Care can also help by performing daily skin inspections to help spot vulnerable regions of the skin and the early signs and symptoms of pressure sores. We can also help with position changes, walking, and transferring to lower the risk of developing pressure sores. Our professional home care services and care team are just a phone call away. If you need in-home care in Frisco or the nearby areas, get in touch with us today online or at 940-380-0500.