4 Tips on Caregiving for a Bedridden Aging Adult

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Caring for seniors who are bedbound poses challenges for both senior and caregiver. Bedridden elderly people face mobility issues, and they may also be at risk for developing skin breakdown. Fortunately, there are things you can do for your aging loved one so he or she remains comfortable.

1. Purchase a Pressure-Relieving Mattress

Because of potential nutritional deficiencies, mobility issues, or diminished circulation, your loved one may be at high risk for developing pressure ulcers. Also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers can quickly develop unless pressure is relieved on the bony prominences of the body. Consider getting a pressure-relieving mattress for your loved one’s bed. Whether the mattress you choose is an “egg crate” type or an air mattress with alternating currents, it’ll relieve pressure so the risk for developing skin breakdown is reduced.

2. Help with Position Changes

It’s essential to help your loved one change positions every couple of hours and as needed while he or she is bedbound. If seniors are allowed to remain in the same position for hours, skin breakdown could develop. The areas most susceptible to skin breakdown are the hips, sacrum, elbows, and ankles. However, it can develop anywhere on the body. The combination of a pressure-relieving mattress and position changes can reduce your loved one’s risk for pressure ulcers and wound infections.

Helping a loved one change positions regularly can be challenging for some family caregivers to accomplish on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder care, Castle Rock Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

3. Maintain Optimal Nutrition

Since optimal nutrition is essential for healthy skin, it’s important for your loved one to eat nutrient-dense foods to maintain strength, weight, and skin integrity. In addition to eating right, avoiding dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can also keep skin as healthy as possible. If your loved one isn’t eating well or drinking enough fluids, make an appointment with his or her physician to determine if nutritional or fluid deficits are present. If so, interventions may be implemented to correct them. If a physical examination fails to reveal problems, blood tests may be ordered so your loved one’s health and nutritional status can be better evaluated. 

Busy family caregivers who cannot find the time to shop for nutritious foods should think about enlisting the support of a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Castle Rock, CO, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

4. Give Massages

Another important intervention you can implement when caring for a bedridden loved one is to massage bony areas of his or her body. People who are bedbound often experience poor circulation. However, when circulation is enhanced through massage, skin is less likely to break down. During massage sessions, be extra gentle and use a moisturizing lotion. If lotions irritate your loved one’s sensitive skin, plain petroleum jelly should suffice. Massaging may preserve the lipid layer of the skin that’s often lacking or compromised in elderly people. When the lipid layer is in good condition, your loved one’s skin may be better protected from breakdown and other injuries. While massaging pressure areas, examine the skin for signs of redness, tears, scabs, or excoriation, and report your findings to your loved one’s physician.

Skin tears can be especially problematic for bedbound seniors, who may be more susceptible to infections because of diminished immune function. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Castle Rock families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of the compassionate Care Managers at Home Care Assistance today at 720-287-1685.