Seniors & Bruising: When Your Elderly Loved One Needs Help

Seeing bruises on a senior loved one can be alarming and even scary. What caused these bruises? Is my family member ok? What can I do to help keep my older family member safe? At PeachTree Place Assisted Living, we want to help restore your peace of mind or spot potential issues, so you can get help.

There are many reasons you might be finding bruising on an older adult.

  • Senile Purpura Or Actinic Purpura
  • Common Medical Procedures
  • Typical Elder Care Assistance
  • Skin Breakdown In Bedridden Seniors
  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Medical Conditions
  • Certain Medications
  • Elder Abuse

Natural Skin Aging

As we age, our skin goes through a lot of changes. The same loss of fat and sun damage that can cause fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin can eventually also lead to a harmless skin condition called senile purpura or actinic purpura.

Regular, everyday touch, like a handshake or gentle bump, can break blood vessels just under the skin and create large, purplish-red bruises — usually on the backs of hands or forearms. These bruises look much worse than they are and the area will fade within 3 weeks, but might make your loved one feel uncomfortable.

If your senior seems distressed or expresses worry about the appearance of their hands or arms because of senile purport markings, talk to their doctor about starting vitamin K and make sure to keep that skin protected from the sun.

Has Your Senior Been To The Dr?

Another common cause of bruises on seniors is regular, medical treatment. IVs and shots can cause bruises on anyone, but especially as we age. Icing and compression may help to reduce the look of these markings.

A Helping Hand Can Sometimes Leave Marks

If a handshake can cause bruises, it’s no wonder that other everyday contact can as well. As mom or dad starts needing more help standing, bathing, dressing, and so on — helping hands can leave marks on fragile elder skin.

It’s Important To Move Bedridden & Immobile Seniors

If you care for a bedridden person of any age, you are probably aware of the risks for bedsores. The skin of immobile seniors who are bedridden or who spend extended periods of time in the same position, such as in a wheelchair, can start to break down and bruise.

Make sure to gently move your loved one gently throughout the day to minimize this breakdown.

Sometimes, Accidents Happen

We all experience accidental bumps, slips, trips, and falls from time to time. As balance and mobility change throughout the years, you can expect these little accidents to happen even more often and leave their marks on the skin.

A Symptom Of A Health Problem

It’s important to pay attention to where and how often you see bruises on your elderly loved one. Unexplained bruises can sometimes be a sign of a more serious health condition.

  • Anemia
  • Blood Clotting Conditions
  • Liver Disease
  • Diabetes

What Is Mom Or Dad Taking?

Do you know what medications your senior adult is taking? Certain kinds of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause easy bruising.

  • Blood Thinners
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Asthma Meds
  • Cortisone

Elder Abuse — Signs & Symptoms

Another cause of bruising in the elderly is, unfortunately, elder abuse. If you suspect that someone is intentionally hurting your senior, make sure to ask about bruises privately. Also, take the time to discuss the possibility with a geriatric physician who will know the difference between common, everyday bruising and signs of abuse.

  • Bruises On The Neck, Trunk, Or Head
  • Your Senior Remembers How It Happened, Even If They Are Mentally Impaired
  • Markings Two Inches Or Larger
  • Distinct Finger Mark Shaped Bruises

What You Can Do To Prevent Bruising In Old Age

As you can see, bruising in seniors is incredibly common and may or may not be a sign of a more serious issue. You may not be able to prevent every single skin marking or minor injury, but doing your best to limit them can help you spot issues when they do crop up earlier.

  • Make sure mom or dad has a clear walkway to perform everyday tasks at home.
  • Consider getting unstable seniors a mobility aid like a cane or walker.
  • Install senior-friendly home modifications — grab bars, ramps, walk-in showers, etc.
  • Record and keep on top of new bruises with doctors.
  • Make sure UV protection like protective clothing and sunscreen are being used.

Getting Help Keeping Your Senior Safe In Utah

Sometimes, the best way to protect older adults from unnecessary bruising is to make sure they have access to the best elder care. If you find it difficult to track and treat new issues in an aged loved one, are overwhelmed by the growing amounts of time attention required, or just want to make sure there is always an experienced helping hand available, it might be time to give us a call.

Contact us at PeachTree Place Assisted Living near Ogden, UT to schedule a tour of our senior apartments and assisted living community today.

Recent Posts