Taking good care of your skin is important at any age, but over the years skin becomes thinner, less elastic, and more prone to injury and infection. For seniors managing incontinence, it’s even more important to keep skin clean, moisturized, and protected to prevent irritation and infection.
- Use a gentle, yet effective cleanser:
Because frequent cleansing is an important part of managing incontinence, it’s important to choose gentle products made to avoid skin breakdown and odor. The most effective routine includes a mild cleanser after elimination occurs, thorough rinse if product requires, and gentle patting with a clean, dry towel. Cleansing options include soothing lotions and foams, antimicrobial products and convenient no-rinse cleansers.
- Replenish moisture daily:
Frequent cleaning can cause dryness and irritation, and cracked or chafed skin can let in infection-causing bacteria, especially if exposed to urine or stool. After cleansing, skin should be replenished with moisturizers formulated to help manage incontinence, such as alcohol-free, protein-rich ingredients that absorb quickly.
- Protect and treat damaged skin:
Once skin is cleaned and moisturized, it’s important to protect it from moisture caused by urine and perspiration. After each elimination, skin should be cleansed, dried and treated with a protecting yet breathable moisture barrier. Other solutions for problem skin include antifungal ointments and powders to treat yeast infections.
- Choose a product line made for senior skin:
There are a number of products designed to keep senior skin healthy. TriDerma provides medical-grade effectiveness for specific skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, facial redness and extreme dryness. TriDerma contains no cortisone or steroids, for fast healing without side effects. Lantiseptic is a line of skin care products made for those managing incontinence. Daily Care Cleansing Foam is a no-rinse, pH-balanced cleanser that deodorizes and moisturizes, and Daily Care Skin Protectant serves as a barrier against chafing and other skin problems. These products can be found online or a local medical supply retailer.
- Choose skin-friendly incontinence products:
In addition to following the three steps to proper skin care, choose incontinence products designed to be kind to skin. Look for breathable materials such as those found in many Seni products, those designed for sensitive skin, and advanced absorbency features such as those found in Wellness briefs and pull-on underwear.
(This article by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant and Registered Dietitian, originally appeared on the CareGiver Partnership blog.)
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.