Taking Care of Our Skin As We Age
Older adults are at increased risk for pressure ulcers on the skin because their circulation is poorer, their skin is thinner and drier, and there is less fatty tissue to cushion it. Older skin is easily injured and slower to heal. If a pressure site or injury is not properly treated, death of cells can lead to ulceration.
Skin may look normal, even when tissue underneath has died. It may take a week before tissue damage is noticed. A common warning sign of skin breakdown is any area that remains reddened for more than an hour. Do not massage the skin if it is reddened. Rubbing increases tissue damage and makes skin pinker, redder or warmer. For dark skin, appearance is mahogany or blue-brown in color and shiny. Consult a healthcare professional if you discover a pressure sore area or observe any unusual appearance of the skin.