Skin tears are a serious problem afflicting the elderly, whose skin becomes dry and sensitive with age. These tears occur when the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is separated from the inner layer of skin, the dermis. This happens in elderly people as a result of the changes in their skin due to aging, particularly when the skin is put under stress, perhaps from a fall or accidental twisting motion, as a caregiver tries to help them move about. Skin tears can be prevented by simply being extremely cautious. Objects in the environment of older people should be out of the way of the walking path, and padded, when possible. Caregivers should be trained to help mobility limited patients carefully, without using any motions that produce twisting or friction of the skin; this is most important when contacting the back of the hands or upper arms. When tears do occur, they can be very painful and involve a long healing process. Such tears should be cleaned, and a wound treatment gel, such as the moist healing gel Wound-Be-Gone®, applied to the surface. Then, a non-adhesive bandage should be applied, with this dressing being changed, and the wound cleaned, regularly.
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