Psoriasis is a kind of autoimmune disorder that causes the skin to develop red, scaly patches. The patches can be very itchy and uncomfortable. Up to 90 percent of people with psoriasis experiencing itching. It can be so intense that some describe it as a burning sensation.
Some people even say it feels like being repeatedly bitten by fire ants. If your older family member suffers from psoriasis, helping them to ease the symptoms may be a top priority in your role as a caregiver. Below are some suggestions to help ease your aging relative’s psoriasis symptoms.
Psoriasis flare-ups can be triggered by injuries to the skin, such as a cut, scratch, or insect bite. It’s not possible to avoid every injury, of course, but you can take steps to protect the senior’s skin. Encourage them to wear long sleeves and pants to offer a layer of protection. This can also prevent insect bites.
Sunburn is another common trigger, so it’s especially important for seniors with psoriasis to use sunscreen whenever they go outside. They should also wear protective clothing, including a hat with a wide brim and light, long-sleeved shirts.
Keeping skin moisturized will help reduce redness and make skin less itchy. By reducing itchiness, the senior will be less likely to scratch, breaking skin open and causing infection. Thick creams and ointments will work best since they help to lock moisture in.
Remove Scales and Flakes
Ask the doctor about products that will be useful in removing some of the scales and flakes that occur with psoriasis. This can prevent the red patches from cracking. It will also decrease the itching and help moisturizers to work better.
Avoid Fragranced Products
The fragrances used in soaps and perfumes typically contain substances that irritate the skin. This can make psoriasis symptoms worse. Look for soaps and detergents that are designed for sensitive skin and do not contain fragrances.
Take Soothing Baths
The senior should take warm baths, but not hot ones. Hot water can dry the skin and make symptoms worse. Lukewarm baths may help to relieve itching, especially if you add soothing substances, like milk, mineral oil, olive oil, or Epsom salt.
Elder care can assist with managing your aging relative’s psoriasis symptoms, too. Elder care providers can remind older adults to use sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing to help prevent skin injuries. Elder care providers can also assist the older adult to use moisturizers and products that remove scales. In addition, elder care providers can help seniors to take soothing baths, ensuring they are safe as they get in and out of the bath.