As Americans, we spend more and more each year on products that promise to soothe, moisturize and rejuvenate our skin. The Global Cosmetic Industry estimates that this year we will purchase $11 billion of lotions, creams, powders, cleansers, exfoliants and oils.
This may signify that we’re taking the health of our skin seriously and we’re willing to invest more money to keep it healthy and attractive. Of course, we tend to pay more attention to our skin as we get older and the rigors of life have begun to show their effects. We may have missed our chance to treat our skin well in our youth, but caring for it as part of active senior living remains important for overall health and well-being.
Know the most common skin problems for older Americans and the causes
The National Institute on Aging names these skin conditions as the ones most frequently seen in older persons:
- Dry skin and itching – Causes include not drinking enough liquids, too much sun, dry air, smoking, stress and loss of sweat and oil glands.
- Bruises – Seniors can bruise easily, and it can take longer to heal. In addition to bumps and falls, certain medicines and illnesses can lead to bruising.
- Wrinkles – Sunlight, repeated facial movements and collapse of soft tissue can result in wrinkles. They most commonly occur on the forehead, at the outer corners of the eyes and between the eyebrows.
- Age spots – These flat spots of darker skin are bigger than freckles and most common on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun over many years.
- Skin tags – These small skin growths are more common in women and, though generally harmless, can become irritated.
- Skin cancer – Though generally curable, it’s the most threatening of the skin conditions. It is caused mostly by the sun, but also by other sources of ultraviolet radiation such as tanning booths and sunlamps.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer, with nonmelanoma skin cancers most prevalent, affecting more than 3 million Americans annually. The most dangerous and least common form of skin cancer is melanoma, which can be fatal if it spreads to other organs. More than a million Americans are currently being treated for melanoma.
To lessen the risk of skin cancer and keep skin as healthy as possible during your retirement years, limit time in the sun, use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, wear a cap or hat and sunglasses, and don’t tan. If you have concerns about any skin spots or growths, consult your family physician or a dermatologist.
Assisted living or personal care homes can meet your daily health and hygiene needs
At Country Meadows, we offer our assisted living and personal care residents hands-on help with their skin care needs, along with daily personal tasks such as dressing, bathing and medication management (including topical medications and ointments), 24 hours a day. Our trained staff also provides residents with assisted living and personal care services that include weekly housekeeping, linen service and transportation to appointments and shopping areas.
We help our residents manage all facets of their health, including those requiring memory support (dementia care) and some residents of our independent living communities. If you or a loved one has health care needs and are choosing a retirement community near you, we ask you to contact us. We would like to meet and talk with you about our full range of services and activities that we can offer you or your senior family member.
We have 10 Pennsylvania retirement homes—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, York-South, York-West, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—as well as a retirement community in Maryland, in Frederick. We invite you to a personalized visit any day of the week any of our active senior living communities.