Understanding Psoriasis in the Elderly

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Psoriasis is a common skin condition that has been linked to genetic causes and triggers that affect a person’s immune system. Although most cases of psoriasis are identified early in a person’s life, Caledon senior care professionals note that many people over the age of 50 receive a diagnosis for the first time due to changes in their health. Seniors with psoriasis should also understand the role that aging and medications play in their treatment plan.

Causes and Symptoms

Although a person’s risk for developing psoriasis is linked to their genes, it is believed that exposure to a specific trigger is necessary for a person to experience symptoms. Many of these triggers, such as new medications or an infection, are not experienced until a person hits their senior years. Symptoms of psoriasis depend on the specific type. However, family members or in-home caregivers may notice the following common signs:

• Patches of red, irritated skin
• Itching
• Silver-colored scales
• Pain at lesion sites

Concerns for Senior Skin

As skin ages, a person will typically experience more dryness, which can irritate psoriasis. If the skin around lesions becomes cracked, there is a greater risk of infection. Additionally, seniors who take certain medications such as beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may notice that their flare-ups increase when they change types or amounts of the medication they take.

Preventing and Managing Flare-Ups

It can take some time for a person to learn which triggers affect their psoriasis. However, protecting the skin by wearing sunscreen and applying moisturizer during periods of dryness can help prevent flare-ups. Stress management techniques and eating a healthy diet that is rich in vitamin A can also be beneficial. During flare-ups, senior adults can talk to their physician about topical medications that may provide relief. Finally, all seniors should make sure their medical team is aware of their skin condition so that caution can be used when introducing new medications.

Learn more about senior health and wellness from the staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of hourly and live-in home care in Caledon. Our caregivers can help with running errands, grocery shopping, cooking, light housework, personal grooming, transportation, and ensure your loved one has the companionship and emotional support many seniors living alone lack. For more information on our care services, reach out to a friendly Care Manager at 905-951-8885 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.