Psoriasis is a condition that causes lesions on the skin. The lesions are red and scaly. Not only are they unsightly, they are also itchy and can cause a burning sensation. Unfortunately, in addition to the discomfort caused by psoriasis, people with psoriasis are often the target of negative reactions from people who don’t understand the condition. Regardless of age, no one likes to be avoided or treated differently because of a medical condition. If your aging relative suffers from psoriasis, it’s likely they have been subjected to the psoriasis stigma.
Study Looks at Stigma.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine wanted to know how prevalent psoriasis stigma is both in the general population and among medical professionals. The researchers surveyed 198 people from the general public using an online survey service. They also surveyed 187 medical students.
The good news is that the medical students had a better understanding of psoriasis and didn’t believe the myths associated with it. Unfortunately, the rest of the respondents weren’t as informed. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents said they wouldn’t even shake hands with a person who has psoriasis. Around 32 percent said they wouldn’t want someone with psoriasis to come to their home. 27 percent believed psoriasis is contagious.
Reacting to the Psoriasis Stigma.
When others treat your older family member poorly because of their condition, your first instinct can be to lash out and defend them. However, that may not be the best course of action. Instead, the experts at WebMD offer the following suggestions:
- If someone asks if the condition is contagious, explain to them that it is not. Rather, psoriasis is a hereditary condition and cannot be passed to people the older adult comes in contact with.
- Sometimes people don’t understand the seriousness of the condition and how it affects the senior. Treat this reaction as an opportunity to educate people about how it affects the person’s life.
- When people are reluctant to touch the older adult, treat them with understanding, but also explain that the condition is not catching.
- Some people may believe that psoriasis is caused by not paying enough attention to personal hygiene. While you don’t have to explain the disease to everyone the older adult comes in contact with, politely telling others that it is a non-contagious hereditary condition can change their attitudes.
Home care providers can be an advocate for your aging family member with psoriasis. In addition to helping them manage the condition, home care providers can be a supportive person who stands up for them. Home care providers can help the senior explain to others who don’t know how to react to the condition what it is and why they should not be afraid.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Madison, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida