Owners' Blog

How to Identify Psoriasis in Older Adults

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Psoriasis is a condition that affects the life cycle of skin cells. It causes itchy patches of skin that can also be painful. It’s uncomfortable and can affect your aging relative’s quality of life. Understanding the condition and being able to recognize the symptoms may help you to identify it in your aging relative and assist them in getting the medical care they need.

Psoriasis Basics

When a person has psoriasis, the way skin cells develop is impacted. They grow more rapidly than they should, so they build up on the skin’s surface where they form red, itchy patches of skin that can appear scaly. The disease isn’t curable, but it can be treated to make symptoms better by slowing the abnormal growth of skin cells.

Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes psoriasis. The common belief is that it’s a problem with the immune system that causes T cells to mistake healthy skin cells for an infection that needs to be fought. The increased activity of the T cells also makes more healthy skin cells grow. As a result, new skin cells rise to the surface of the skin much more quickly than they should, taking just days instead of weeks.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

The symptoms of psoriasis can come and go. They are also not the same for every person who has the disease. Some of the common signs of psoriasis include:

  • Patches of skin that appear red and have silvery scales on them.
  • Small scaly spots.
  • Skin that is dry and cracked, which may cause bleeding.
  • Skin that itches, burns, or feels sore.
  • Fingernails or toenails that are pitted, thick, or have ridges.
  • Joints that are stiff and swollen.

Some people have only small spots of psoriasis while others have patches that cover larger areas of their bodies. Typically, people have flare ups where symptoms worsen for a time, then get better for a while. They may even have periods of remission in which there are no symptoms present.

If your aging relative has signs or symptoms of psoriasis that make them uncomfortable or make it difficult for them to do daily tasks and activities, they should see a doctor. In addition, if psoriasis is accompanied by joint pain or swelling, they could have psoriatic arthritis and should seek treatment.

Home care can help older adults who have psoriasis to live a healthier and more comfortable life. A home care provider can assist the senior to keep skin moisturized, preventing skin from cracking and helping to relieve itching. Home care providers can also remind them to use medications and creams recommended by the doctor and drive them to appointments for checkups.


If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring home care services in Cumming, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.