Dealing With Skin Tears in Elderly – A Caretaker’s Guide

elderly skin

The geriatric population is at risk for various diseases of different kinds. While it’s more common to be conscious of neurological illnesses, it’s also important to consider small yet significant changes in their physiology. For example, aging skin can lead to complications. As your elderly loved ones grow older, skin conditions can manifest due to their environment and biological condition.

For example, different combinations of drugs and lifestyle habits can lead to faster or slower skin deterioration. Typically, exposure to radiation can also present itself years later. Thankfully, you can prepare yourself to anticipate these changes. Knowing more about this condition can help you be a better caretaker for the senior members of your household.

Understanding Skin Tears

It’s common for skin tears to occur due to direct trauma. It also doesn’t have to be a severe impact since something as light as bumping into a doorknob or table leg can cause this effect. These trigger injuries can initiate skin tears which can develop into another wound. Since a senior person’s skin is more vulnerable due to reduced elasticity, it’s more at risk of recovering slowly.

Since skin tears aren’t exactly a major sickness, it’s best to have an effective preventative strategy. Additionally, it’s essential to know how to respond to skin tears if they occur.

Dealing with Skin Tears

Skin tears are traumatic injuries that look like bruises or dry skin. While they might not seem serious, they can cause extreme pain for elderly individuals since they affect superficial nerve endings. If you notice a skin tear, it’s best to replace the torn skin by using wound closure strips. However, if the wound isn’t so severe, it’s okay to use a bordered foam dressing.

Dressing the wound will depend on the amount of drainage it builds up. Some wound dressings can stay for a week, while others will require changing every three days. If there’s too much drainage, you’ll need to use alginates so you won’t redress the wound too frequently. Additionally, it’s best to choose the right dressing material, especially if your senior loved one has any allergies or adverse reactions to the material.

Preventing Skin Tears

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing dressing bandages regularly, prevention is the best solution. You can do this by making your seniors wear protective arm sleeves. Additionally, you can apply moisturizer on their skin to have another layer of application to their skin’s sensitivity. This hydrates their skin and aids in replenishing dead skin cells.

Besides protecting your elderly loved one, it’s important to adjust their living environment accordingly. Providing a clean and unobstructed place is a great way to prevent them from unintentionally receiving skin tear wounds.


Taking care of your elderly is more than just a 24/7 job; it also requires you to pay full attention to their needs, which can change depending on their physiological and neurological condition. Unfortunately, not all households are well-prepared or equipped to care for their elderly loved ones. This can lead to an uncomfortable living situation for everyone.

Thankfully, you don’t have to carry the burden of caring for your seniors by yourself. You can seek professional services to get the proper treatment and medical solutions from home care experts.

Seeking professional services is a great way to give the senior members of your household the attention and protection they need. Our clinicians and therapists at Gateway Home Health are well-equipped to care for your elderly loved ones at your home. If you need help from a reputable home care agency with locations in Denver and Colorado Springs, contact us today.

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