senior lady looking at arm bruise

It happens to all of us, especially as we get older. Maybe while cleaning, we bump into the side of the coffee table, never giving it a second thought. But by the following day, a patch of sunset-colored shades has spread over the wounded area. How could such a nasty bruise be caused by such a slight mishap?

Although it may look shocking, bruising in older adults is quite common. Thinning skin along with a decrease in fat can mean that even a little abrasion or bump may result in more extensive bruising than it would for more youthful skin.

The Chesterfield companion care team at Compassionate Nursing Services provides the following strategies to help lessen the chances for bruising, and also to help bruises heal quicker when they do occur:

Preventing Bruises:

  • Evaluate the senior’s home, both indoors and outdoors, to verify that there are wide, clear walkways. Get rid of any dangers that could make the person stumble, trip, or knock into objects. Compassionate Nursing Services offers safety evaluations as well, to make sure all bases are covered.
  • Encourage the older adult to wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when performing tasks that could cause injury or stress to the skin.
  • If the senior is a smoker, help them to give it up. Smoking negatively impacts the body’s ability to create collagen, which can cause easier bruising in older adults.
  • Make certain the person’s diet includes ample amounts of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in the production of collagen.
  • Recognize that certain medicines can raise the likelihood of bruising (but know too that the senior should never stop taking any medication without checking with a doctor):
    • Aspirin
    • NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen)
    • Anticoagulants (coumadin, heparin)
    • Corticosteroids
    • Antiplatelet meds

Helping Bruises to Heal:

  • Place a cold pack on the bruised spot for 20 minutes to reduce blood flow to that area. This can help decrease the size of the bruise while reducing swelling.
  • If at all possible, raise the bruised area.
  • Cover the bruise with a compression bandage to minimize swelling.

If a bruise shows up for seemingly no reason, or if you are at all alarmed by a specific bruise, contact the doctor immediately. This is particularly crucial if the person has started taking a new medication, or if bleeding is occurring in the gums, nose, or another part of the body.

At Compassionate Nursing Services, our caregivers are here to help seniors continue to enjoy a dynamic lifestyle while reducing the likelihood of injury. Some of the many ways we accomplish this are through:

  • Help with baths/showers and other personal care needs, such as skin care
  • Help and support as needed with walking or transferring
  • Ensuring a tidy and organized home atmosphere that is free from fall hazards
  • Assisting with exercise programs to promote balance and strength
  • Watching for and reporting any changes in condition right away
  • And so much more

Reach out to us any time for more skin care advice and to learn more about our full selection of individualized senior care services. We are pleased to offer a complimentary in-home consultation at your convenience. Contact us today at 314-432-4312 and let us know how we can assist! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.