What will help relieve itchy skin in elderly mother?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What will help relieve itchy skin in elderly mother? My mother (age 84) has terribly itchy skin, over many parts of her body (legs, back, waist, etc.), during all seasons. We share dry skin, so I'm sure that's part of it, and she uses lotion, but nothing seems to help. What can we do to get her some relief?

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Itchy skin is a tough problem, and one that I am familiar with myself.  Here are my suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of showers/ baths that she is taking.  She probably only needs a full shower/ bath twice a week.  The only parts that need daily cleansing are the privates, buttocks, and armpits.
  • When cleansing, use a gentle baby wash ONLY.  No soap!
  • After the shower/ bath, apply a good lotion to the entire body.  I would recommend Eucerin (for itchy skin), Lubriderm, or Aveeno (with oatmeal).

If you try my above suggestions, and they do not help, she should probably see a dermatologist for more individual suggestions.