Psoriasis in Seniors: What Every Caregiver Should Know
Psoriasis is an extremely common condition that impacts millions of people from all over the world. While many people assume that this condition is a skin issue, it is actually an autoimmune disease—and is the most common in the world. Psoriasis is extremely painful and uncomfortable and is typically associated with the red, itching, dry patches that can appear on the skin as part of this condition. Many times, it is described as looking “scaly.”
While there is no complete cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help improve the side effects of this condition and the more caregivers know about psoriasis, the better equipped they will be to help their loved ones who are battling this condition.
Helping Seniors Manage Stress
The first and most important thing for senior caregivers to remember with psoriasis is that it is, in fact, an autoimmune disease and it needs to be treated as such. People with psoriasis actually have an overactive immune system.
Because of this, stress can really factor flare-ups, particularly in seniors who may already have compromised immune systems from other conditions. While psoriasis does not get worse with age, seniors are often more likely to experience stressful life events that can impact their flare-ups. This can include:
- Death of loved one
- Medical conditions
- Stress over moving to assisted living
- And more.
Many seniors find that the more they are able to control their stress, the easier it will be to control their flare-ups. This is where caregivers can come in and really help their seniors in these situations.
Assisting With Itching
For many seniors, one of the most frustrating things about this condition is that it is very itchy. Many times, this itching can translate into a painful burning sensation. For caregivers looking after someone with psoriasis, it is important to recognize that seniors need to be able to control this itching in order to get the sleep that they need.
If you are looking after someone with dementia, they may also not realize how much they are itching and scratching or how much they are continuing to irritate their skin and making their inflammation worse. As a caregiver, it is important to look after your loved one and try to manage their itching as much as possible. Thick creams, soothing ointments, and moisturizers can all help with the itching sensations as well.
You may also want to visit your loved one’s doctor for more information on treatments that can help treat psoriasis symptoms.
Psoriasis is a life-long issue for most individuals and with over 7.5 million people in the United States suffering from this condition, it is important that all caregivers are aware of how psoriasis can impact their loved ones, as this condition can develop virtually at any time. The more aware you are of how to treat this condition and help your loved one manage their psoriasis the less of a problem it will become.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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