Skin Care Guide for Elderly with Dementia

7 Essential Skin Care Tips for Seniors With Dementia


Caring for seniors with dementia is not only about addressing their cognitive needs but also their physical well-being. Skin care is a critical, yet often overlooked aspect of this care.

As we age, our skin undergoes numerous changes; it becomes thinner, less elastic, and more susceptible to dryness and irritation. In seniors with dementia, these issues are aggravated due to their inability to communicate discomfort and neglected personal care routine.

In this article, we will share 7 easy-to-implement skin care tips to ensure that your senior loved one with dementia receives the best care possible.

Wash The Face Gently

Washing the face should be done using lukewarm water and a soft washcloth. Avoid scrubbing the skin harshly, as older skin is more delicate and susceptible to irritation and damage.

Instead, gently pat the face with the washcloth and rinse thoroughly but softly. This gentle approach helps to keep the skin clean without causing unnecessary stress or discomfort.

Use Mild, Fragrance-Free Cleansers

Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers that do not contain harsh chemicals or strong scents. These cleansers effectively clean the skin without stripping it of natural oils or causing irritation. Products labeled as hypoallergenic are particularly suitable as they are specifically formulated to minimize allergic reactions.

Use Sunscreen

Protecting the skin from harmful UV rays is essential, regardless of age. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can prevent sun damage.

Sunscreen should be applied generously on all exposed skin, including the face, neck, and hands, and reapplied every two hours or more frequently if your senior loved one is outdoors for extended periods. This can help prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Apply Moisturizer Daily

As skin ages, it tends to dry out more easily. The condition is often exacerbated in individuals with dementia as they may forget to follow a regular skincare routine.

Applying a thick, hydrating moisturizer immediately after bathing can help lock in moisture. Look for moisturizers rich in emollients and free from potential irritants like dyes and perfumes. Regular moisturizing helps to prevent dryness, flaking, and itching, keeping the skin soft and comfortable.

Drink Plenty of Water

Hydration from the inside is just as important as moisturizing on the outside. Encourage your senior loved one to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This may require regular reminders or using cups and bottles that are easy to handle.

Adequate hydration helps maintain skin elasticity and moisture, which is essential for preventing dryness and promoting overall health.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins like A, C, E, and D can help maintain skin integrity and encourage regeneration. Meals should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to ensure that all nutritional needs are met. This not only benefits the skin but also enhances overall health, which is particularly crucial for seniors with dementia.
cognitive function and behavior.

Address Bed Sores

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are localized injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that typically develop on areas of the back, buttocks, hips, elbows, and heels.

Seniors with dementia are at higher risk of developing them due to factors such as reduced mobility, poor circulation, moisture, malnutrition, sensory impairment, and certain medical conditions, e.g., diabetes. These individuals are usually bedridden or wheelchair-bound, which puts additional pressure on specific body areas, leading to the development of bed sores.

Since they may be less likely to recognize discomfort or communicate their needs, caregivers should regularly monitor for early signs of skin breakdown, such as redness, discoloration, or changes in skin texture. They should practice proper skin care techniques, such as keeping the skin clean and dry, moisturizing as needed, and using protective creams. Caregivers should also consider prescribing oral medications or topical agents for pain management.

At Arbor Trace, a specialized dementia care facility in Ontario, Canada, we pay attention to the changing needs of each resident. Proper skin care can significantly enhance a senior’s comfort and quality of life, reducing the risk of skin infections and other complications.

Our staff is trained to be extra careful with skin areas that are prone to damage and to use mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and nourished. Our dietary program is designed to support skin health through nutritious, balanced meals that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals.

Get in touch with our team today to schedule a tour of the Arbor Trace memory care facility in London, Ontario.

sunshine retirement living logo

Sunshine Retirement Living retirement living and senior 50+ retirement communities with top assisted living and memory care facilities offering resort styled care facilities nationwide.