How to Deal With 5 Common Skin Conditions Affecting Seniors

Written by Nurse Susan

Aging causes a number of changes throughout the body, and the skin is no exception. When you get older, the skin tends to become thinner and more sensitive.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common skin conditions that affect seniors — and what you can do to prevent and treat them.

  1. Wrinkles and Movement Lines

Wrinkles are the most obvious sign of aging skin. The skin loses its flexibility after years of sun exposure. You may also notice movement lines — also known as laugh or worry lines — around the eyes and mouth.

You can’t remove wrinkles completely (at least without cosmetic surgery). But, you can reduce their appearance with products that contain tretinoin.

You can also try dry brushing, which helps smooth the skin and minimize wrinkles by exfoliating and improving blood flow.

  1. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the result of improperly functioning veins. When the valves of the veins don’t close all the way, blood pools and causes them to swell and twist. Varicose veins are typically not dangerous, but they can be painful.

Varicose veins are not entirely preventable — some people are genetically predisposed — but maintaining an active lifestyle and avoiding sitting with the legs crossed for long periods of time may keep them at bay.

If you’re already suffering from varicose veins, it helps to wear compression stockings to improve circulation and reduce their appearance. Dermatologists can also perform a variety of treatments for varicose veins, including sclerotherapy, endovenous thermal ablutions, and vein stripping.

  1. Dry Skin

Dry skin is another relatively harmless but still irritating condition that affects approximately 75 percent of seniors. Aging results in the loss of oil glands, which means that the skin is more likely to become dry, itchy, and cracked.

The dryness that comes with aging can’t be prevented, but there are many ways it can be treated. Some simple solutions include:

  • Using soap that is specially formulated for dry skin
  • Regularly using a high-quality body lotion
  • Avoiding high water temperatures, which dry the skin out
  • Increase water consumption
  • Avoiding caffeine (it can cause itching)
  • Using humidifiers and vaporizers for extra moisture
  1. Pressure Ulcers

For elderly people who spend many hours confined to a chair or bed, pressure ulcers — also known as bedsores — are a common, unpleasant occurrence.

Pressure ulcers occur when a limited amount of blood is sent to a particular area. This leads to cell death, then skin breakdown, and, eventually, the painful open wound that is recognized as a pressure ulcer.

Pressure ulcers are most often located on the tailbone, hips, shoulder blades, elbows, and heels.

To prevent pressure ulcers, those who care for bed or chair-limited seniors should turn them over every few hours and use barrier creams to prevent skin breakdown. They should also make sure that their mattress is not too firm. Gel and alternating air pressure mattresses help reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Proper wound care from a nurse or other wound specialist can help heal existing pressure ulcers, and massage may also be beneficial for improving circulation. This can help treat existing sores and prevent new ones.

  1. Skin Cancer

Finally, skin cancer is probably the most serious skin ailment that seniors face. While skin cancer can affect people of any age, seniors are particularly susceptible, in part because aging diminishes the skin’s ability to heal and protect itself.

To prevent skin cancer, seniors should take care to wear sunscreen before spending prolonged periods of time outdoors. They should also avoid going outside between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M., as this is considered the most UV-intense time of day.

Seniors should also be sure to check moles twice a year for the following signs:

  • Changes in size, shape, and color
  • Moles with irregular borders
  • Moles with multiple colors
  • Asymmetrical moles
  • Moles that bleed, itch, or ooze

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with a dermatologist to rule out cancer. Many skin cancers are highly treatable, but they need to be caught early.

From wrinkles to pressure ulcers, age-related skin changes aren’t fun to deal with. However, many conditions are easy to prevent and treat. Keep these tips in mind so that your skin can stay happy and healthy.

Easy Gardening For A Happy Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

After retirement, it’s important to keep an active lifestyle and avoid being sedentary. Staying active and keeping busy is the best way to maintain good health. Researchers found that retirees who did a moderate activity like gardening were two and a half times more likely to age in a healthy way. Doing gardening as a hobby you get to do a lot of exercises every day. All the daily activity of kneeling, bending, carrying tools, digging in the dirt, is a great way to stay healthy and in good shape. As a retiree, you can add years to your life if you start a garden at home. Additionally, think of all the healthy fresh produce you’ll get to eat and the money you’ll save on vegetables and fruits. More and more people are being drawn to the process of putting their hands in the dirt, digging and creating something beautiful.

Health Benefits of gardening

Taking up gardening goes beyond keeping you active and cutting down on grocery bills. When you grow vegetables your diet improves as you tend to eat the vegetables you grow. But it’s not just your diet that gets better, as you share your produce with your family and friends, you’ll help them eat healthy as well. With that said, spending time outdoors tending the garden and getting a decent exposure to sunlight fights off dementia and boosts your immune system.

Gardening tasks also keep you occupied and give you a sense of achievement. Studies show that being in a natural environment has therapeutic effects and reduces stress and anxiety. The same goes for participating in a community garden where you get to meet fellow gardeners, share tips and make new friends. Having a diminished social life is one of the problems of retirement. But with gardening, you could join a community that helps expand your social circle and network of friends.

Gardening made easier

If you suffer from low stamina and limited mobility, you might find gardening challenging. This might have a negative impact on your experience in the garden especially if it’s difficult to get around. However, the good news is there are ways to make gardening easy for you even if you have back pain and your joints are not as flexible as they used to be. Consider for example using waist-high raised beds. That way you can do your gardening standing up and remove the need to bend down altogether.

Now you can seed, weed, and harvest with putting pressure on your back. Vertical gardening is another way to eliminate the need to bend down. Some vegetables like melons, squash, and cucumbers grow well when trellised. With your plants at face level, it’s easy to walk around and tend to your vegetable patches. Remember to place stools and benches in your garden for rest. Stone benches are durable, functional and versatile. They also don’t require much maintenance.

Tools of the trade

If your knees hurt and you can’t kneel down easily, you should use a kneeler stool. These are stools that have a thick foam pad for the knee. You can also flip it over and it becomes a comfortable stool to sit on. It is also worth mentioning that when you squat down to weed in the garden always keep your heels on the ground. Lifting your heels puts a strain on your ligaments. Or you could try kneeling with just one knee down.

Ergonomic pruners are specially designed to be easy to use. They have comfortable handles and require less effort to cut than normal pruners. One thing to remember, however, is to always keep your wrist in a natural position. Twisting your wrist or bending it down at an angle for a prolonged time might lead to tendonitis. Also, make sure the pruners you use are the right size for you. When you hold the closed pruner in your hand, the handle should fit in your palm. Getting a pruner that is either too big or too small for you will put a strain on your hand and diminish your grip.

What to plant?

Finally, you should choose plants that are easy to grow. Plants that don’t need lots of attention and aren’t prone to disease or insect infestation are the best choice. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots are some of the easiest plants to grow and maintain in your garden. You can grow them in containers or in mounded soil. And apart from sowing the seeds and watering them, you won’t need to do much else. They practically grow from seeds and don’t require much care or maintenance.

If you’re new to gardening then you’ll need to wrap your head around the basics. There are plenty of books and information online to get you started. But if you really want to get the best tips then you should ask another gardener. You can find enthusiastic gardeners in community gardens and garden clubs. Most are more than willing to give advice and help a novice fellow gardener get their hands dirty, so to speak. And when all is said and done, what’s a better way to increase your home’s curb appeal than with a well maintained and beautiful garden?

Revive Your Retirement

In the beginning entering retirement is a glorious adventure. How incredibly liberating it is to finally have time to do all you have wanted to. It feels wonderful to live at a pace you are comfortable with rather than one dictated by others. Days can be filled with activities you enjoy, hobbies you choose to revisit, and an endless variety of new things to explore. What could be better?

And yet some find sustaining a fulfilling fun retirement is not so easy. After a year or so spent catching up on travel dreams and reconnecting with friends and family and whittling down that to-do-list and taking a second look at hobbies of yore, that initial excitement can begin to wear off. What next? What do I do to find meaning in my days?

Keeping your retirement fresh and interesting is a full time job. You cannot laze your way through if you want to make the most of your second act.

Get a Job (you like)

I am not suggesting you jump back into the mad working fray you so recently escaped. Rather, imagine a role you would enjoy at a company you respect doing something that brings a smile to your face. Such a place does exist – you just have to find it.

Create the blueprint of your perfect job. Figure out how many hours you would like to work. Factor in your commute or if possible avoid that time sink completely. Make a list of those things you do not want to do and avoid those situations. Reach out to your professional as well as personal network to share what you are looking for. As you know many jobs are never listed but rather filled by someone who knows someone.

Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. You have paid your dues. Those days of stress and struggle are behind. Take your time, consider your options, and do your diligence before you make your move. And remember if it does not work out you do not have to stick with it.

This time around don’t settle until you find a job you like/enjoy/look forward to.

Set Free the Creative You

Each of us is creative in his/her own way. It’s just some of us push that creativity down inside us rather than unleash it. Whether we resist expressing our talents because we are shy or afraid or lack confidence or are simply hiding, if we dig down it is there. Not all of us can be a Da Vinci or Hemingway but so what. You do not have to impress anyone.

The thing about creativity is it seeks an outlet. You can only deny your inner self so long. Write a book or a play or a short story or a poem. Compose a song. Paint a landscape. Start a garden. Remodel a room. Rehabilitate an old car. Try something new not because you have to but because you choose to.

Expand your Mind

Would you be interested in learning more about a topic that excites you? Going “back to school” when you retire is a whole new ballgame. Firstly with all the online offerings you don’t necessarily have to go to a classroom. This time around there will be no exams, no competition to be the best, no deadlines to deliver. You can work at a pace you choose. You “study” when you want to. And if you lose interest along the way you are free to move onto something new.

Retirees find themselves removed from the demanding world they knew, a positive in many ways. But without that routine requiring us to think and engage it is easy to lose your edge and find your senses dulled. Exercise that brain to stay on top of your game.

Be Wild and Crazy

Retirement offers a chance to step outside the box you have lived within all these years. No one is watching – do what you want. And even in someone is watching, so what! Dance in the street if the mood strikes you. Color your hair or your nails or your lips anyway you want. Sing, laugh, dance, enjoy – if not now, when? As a sage Forrest Gump might venture, “crazy is as crazy does.”

Record your story

Many are interested in understanding the people and places that constitute their personal history. Ancestry.com and other sites help dig up facts and faces to better understand where we came from. But the best source of accurate information for future generations is stored in our individual memories. No one knows better the minute details that make up the life we have lived. Who can more vividly paint a picture of the environment and times, the hopes and challenges, the happiness and tears than someone who has experienced them first hand. Imagine a descendant reading your story a hundred years from now, reliving those times that tie you together forever.

Our second act can be the best time of our lives. Revive your retirement by trying new things. None of us wants to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity when it comes our way.

LoveBeingRetired.com