The body becomes more frail for various reasons as it ages into later years of life. This makes bruising more recurrent in many elders, as the body is less resilient to bumps, scrapes, or falls. Bruises can often be ugly or embarrassing to have to deal with, so we provide some tips on how to prevent, treat, and deal with the risks of elderly bruising.
Preventing Senior Bruises
Bruises, and most senior injuries in general, are often due to falls. A way to prevent elderly bruising is to do your best to prevent falls at home. This can be done in many ways, including installing shower matts in the bathrooms, ensuring stair rails are secure, making sure furniture doesn’t obstruct walking paths, and using a cane or senior walker for transportation.
Treating Senior Bruises
Typically, advanced medical assistance is not needed to treat elderly bruising. As time passes, any blood leaked from a bruise will be absorbed back into the body eventually. Unfortunately, this natural process can take a considerably longer amount of time in seniors. Serious bruises can sometimes stay with an elder for weeks. The best thing that a senior can do to speed up the healing process, is to apply a sort of frozen compress to the affected bruised area as soon as possible. Do not apply ice directly to the skin however. This cold compress can slow the amount of blood draining into skin tissue, and prevent the bruise from becoming noticeably large. Hold cold compresses on the bruise for several minutes at a time, then apply a warm compress to restore the circulation and bring down the pressure in the affected bruised area.
Senior Bruising as a Side Effect of Medication
Bruising may be a symptom of certain medical conditions. Diseases like Leukemia or other blood diseases can be factors in increasing senior bruising. Also, conditions that affect the liver can result in higher likelihood of bruising, since the liver is responsible in part for handling blood clots. Medications may sometimes contribute to senior bruising susceptibility as well. Anti-coagulation medicines, like Coumadin®, serve to fight blood clots and prevent heart attacks and strokes, but may also have a side effect of rising the possibility of elder bruising. Several non-prescription medicines have been known for this side effect also, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and some antidepressants. If the possibility of bruising is concerning, than be sure to consult your doctor before taking any new medications.
Senior Bruising from Elder Abuse
The National Center for Elder Abuse defines the act of ‘elder abuse’ to be: “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver (or any other person) that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an elder adult.” If you notice an elder loved one bearing bruises frequently, or bruises that appear to be the result of rough handling, then it may be a good idea to investigate the living environment of your senior loved one, or to have a personal talk with them to find out if abuse is occurring. Abuse can be an embarrassing or traumatic thing to discuss, so make your best effort to make a senior feel comfortable, safe, and loved when discussing. Sometimes an elder feels that they don’t want to burden or concern you by mentioning such problems; so please make an effort to convey that they should not feel reluctant to share anything important.