At his last doctor’s appointment, your dad learned he has diabetes. He has to be very careful about taking care of his skin to avoid infections. As he also has arthritis and deals with joint stiffness, it makes it hard for him to pay extra close attention to his grooming and hygiene.
Why Are Skin Infections a Bigger Risk?
An older person’s skin is thinner and more fragile. Because of this, skin cracks and scratches easily, and bacteria can get into those small cracks, scratches, and fissures. This is why skin infections like cellulitis are more common in the elderly.
Attention to personal care is the best way to lower the risk of painful infections that can quickly worsen. Diabetes adds to the issue as it can impact circulation. Slower blood flow makes wounds heal slowly, so there is an open sore longer that can become infected if your dad isn’t taking care of it.
If your dad focuses on proper skin care, he lowers the risk of getting a scratch, crack, or open sore that can become infected. Skincare is everything, and that means he needs to stay on top of hygiene and grooming.
How Does Your Dad Take Care of His Skin?
What should your dad be doing to take care of his skin? Start in the shower. He should wash all areas with mild soap. Something without parabens and sulfates are best, and add moisturizing agents like shea butter, coconut oil, or almond oil. Many baby products are ideal as they’re designed for sensitive, delicate skin.
Once he’s showered, he wants to pat his skin dry. Rubbing it can damage it. If he can tolerate it, apply an unscented moisturizing lotion while his skin is damp. If he’s okay with a somewhat greasier product, plain coconut oil is a great moisturizer and avoids chemical ingredients.
He should check the bottom of his feet for any cracks or open sores. If he has anything, arrange an appointment with his doctor to make sure there’s no infection started. He’ll need to keep that area clean and bandaged while it heals.
It’s also helpful to work with a podiatrist and have your dad’s feet and shoes checked. If your dad’s shoes do not fit properly, they’re more likely to pinch and cause blisters and foot pain. You want shoes that fit correctly. This often means choosing specific brands and getting the right width and arch support.
When your dad has diabetes or another health issue that increases the risk of infection, personal care at home is a good service to arrange. With caregivers helping your dad with grooming and hygiene, he’s supported by people helping him with showers, skin moisturizers, and dressing. Arrange personal care at home by talking to an advisor and asking any questions you have.
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