If you or your home health care provider have noticed more bruises appearing on your parent’s body, you could be wondering what is going on. Perhaps you ask your parent about it and she’s not even sure how or why the bruise appeared. Bruises occur when small blood vessels (called capillaries) near the skin’s surface are broken, usually by a direct hit or blow to the area. While they can often be quite unsightly and even frightening looking, the good news is that bruising is common with age and bruises usually go away on their own after a bit of time.
As your parent gets older, the skin starts to thin and loses some of its fatty protection making even slight blows to areas such as the arms and legs break out in bruises more easily. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the blood that has leaked out and the bruise will disappear (usually creating lots of interesting colors as it fades). Occasionally, there can be other reasons that your elderly parent may be bruising that will need some attention.
Here are a few reasons to review if you have noticed excessive bruises on your parent’s body.
Some medications can reduce the blood’s ability to clot, such as aspirin and anticoagulant medications. Antibiotics may also reduce clotting. When medications reduce clotting abilities, your parent’s body may take longer for a broken capillary to stop leaking when damaged, resulting in a larger, darker bruise. In addition, some corticosteroids will cause the skin to thin when used, making bruising more likely. Even some supplements are known to lead to excessive bruising. If you’ve noticed your parent’s bruising has increased since being introduced to any of these medications, don’t stop having her take them, but set up a time to talk to her doctor about what’s going on to make sure she’s not in any danger.
Other Underlying Issues
Occasionally bruising can indicate that something more serious is happening in your parent’s body. If bruising occurs along with any of these additional symptoms or in any of these particular locations, you and your parent will want to meet with her doctor to do a bit of testing to see if something else is going on.
Bruises that randomly occur on the trunk of the body, back, or face with no apparent reason. Your parent may not even notice these bruises so if you or their home health care provider notice them, make note of it for her doctor.
- Bruising that coincides with the inability to stop bleeding during an injury or surgery.
- Sudden increase in bruising, especially if a new medication regimen has begun.
- Having a family history of a blood clotting disease such as hemophilia.
Unsafe Home and How Home Health Care can Help
If your parent is tripping more often or bumping into objects in her home, you can help reduce these risks by increasing lighting, securing rugs, and eliminating tripping hazards around the home. If your parent struggles with balance, install railings and have her use an assistive device like a cane or walker to move from one area of the home to the other. You can arrange for a home health care provider to help with tasks such as bringing laundry upstairs or other chore to reduce the risk that your parent will trip or fall and develop a nasty bruise at the very least.