As a dementia caregiver, taking care of Mom's skin is getting to be a challenge. She sits and lays down almost all day, so we needed to find out some good home remedies for bed sores. Here are tips and ideas for good home skin care treatments.
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Bed sores (or pressure ulcers) are a painful medical condition that happen when people are confined to a bed or wheelchair for long periods of time as our dementia parents often are.
How To Prevent Bed Sores
Before we get into treating bed sores or pressure ulcers, let's talk a wee bit about how to we can prevent them in the first place!
Here are some recommendations from the NCBI…
- Avoid using hot water
- Only use mild cleansing agents that minimize irritation and dryness of the skin
- Avoid low humidity because it promotes scaling and dryness
- During skin care, avoid vigorous massage over reddened, bony prominences because evidence suggest that this leads to deep tissue trauma
What Are Bed Sores?
The most common areas affected by bed sores are hips, lower back, buttocks, shoulder blades and elbows, any pointy parts or places that are flat on the bed all the time.
They are caused by pressure and friction against the skin, but they can also be caused or exacerbated by diabetes, age, loss of sensation in certain body parts, weight loss after a long illness, lack of nutrition, very dry skin with dehydration and excessive smoking.
Our Mom has lost a lot of weight because she doesn't have a great appetite anymore. She also sits all day long, leading to her skin getting sore on her butt and back.
Make sure you listen closely to you dementia parent as they often will just say something hurts, rather than that there is a sore. Bed sores are awful to treat after they become bad, so you need to keep an eye out for them beforehand.
Symptoms of Bed Sores
Bed sore trouble areas can be spotted before they get bad! Watch for things like…
- Skin that feels warmer or colder to the touch than the skin around it
- Tender skin
- Changes in skin color or texture
Source Mayo Clinic
Mostly it seems that the pressure on the affected part that sits on the bed is the trouble. That pressure on the skin can cause the pressure sore… maybe see if you can use pillows to relieve pressure on that sensitive area!
How To Treat Bed Sores Naturally
Here are some home remedies to treat bed sores or pressure ulcers. Please note that if your loved one has a bad bed sore, the recommendation is to contact their doctor if it doesn't get better within 48 hours.
Honey has been a known way to treat or prevent infection for a very long time. It is a natural antiseptic and will help soften the skin, reduce pain and promote the healing process.
Add equal parts sugar and honey to make a thick mixture, then apply the mixture directly to the bed sore and cover with a clean bandage. Change once a day until healed.
The Role of Honey In Healing of Bedsores In Cancer Patients (source www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
If you’ve ever used aloe vera on sunburn, you know how well is soothes and heals! It also has an effect on infection, swelling and pain.
Apply the gel from an aloe leaf directly on a clean bed sore, gently rub it in for 5 minutes and let it dry. Repeat three times a day.
The effect of Aloe Vera gel on prevention of pressure ulcers in patients hospitalized in the orthopedic wards: a randomized triple-blind clinical trial (source https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/)
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties, which can promote healing process and reduce risk of infection.
Apply turmeric powder on the affected skin area and cover with a clean bandage. Repeat three times a day.
Coconut oil is an effective way to treat bed sores for a number of reasons. One is by keeping the skin moisturized (to prevent spreading and new bed sores) and also the process of messaging it in helps circulation which promotes healing.
Just massage affected areas, and areas liable to become affected 3 or 4 times a day.
Just like using salt water for mouth sores, it’s an effective remedy for bed sores. It prevents infection and promotes healing.
Just add 2 teaspoons of salt to a cup of boiling water. Let it cool and use it to clean sores. Do this twice a day. Also, use it to clean sores before using other treatments.
Natural Remedies For Bed Sores and Pressure Ulcers Wrapup
Having read a bunch to this post, for sure avoiding letting your loved one getting a bed sore is for the best (there was super scary info about how many people die after having bed sores… not because of the sores, but because of the other conditions that made them immobile.)
I KNOW, sometimes it is hard to see their skin if they won't take a shower, but for sure listen to their grumblings and note if they say something is hurting it might be a pressure sore.
Try to move them around, even it is from bed to chair or moving them around on the bed from time to time.