Dear Family Resource,
My grandpa broke his hip. He was in the hospital but now he’s at a really nice rehabilitation place. I visit him nearly every day after school. Today I was helping him take off his sweater and I saw bruises on his upper arms. I asked him about it but he just said he must have bumped into the wall. I asked someone at the rehab place about it but she kind of ignored me saying old people just get bruises. I don’t want to be a pest but I’m feeling like he shouldn’t have bruises on his arms when he’s there for his hip. Am I being paranoid or what?
~Devoted Granddaughter

Dear Granddaughter,
First, I have to say… wow! You’re really on top of things and your grandpa is fortunate to have you in his life. People do bruise much easier as they get older. There are lots of reasons for this. For one thing, the protective layer of fat we all have under our skin starts to decrease as we age. This leaves the blood vessels with little protection so even a small bump can cause a bruise. Also, there are medications that cause the blood to thin. When the blood is thin, it takes much longer for the tiny veins to stop bleeding which makes bruises bigger, darker, and scarier looking.

Your grandpa may or may not remember if someone was a little careless or in a hurry with him during the course of the day or week. Speak to the Director of Nursing and ask her to look at the bruises. She most likely will speak to the direct care and physical therapy staff. There is a chance the cause cannot be determined; however, you’ve still done something important for your grandpa. When you visit often, you are in a good position to see if something doesn’t seem right. By taking note of any changes in how your grandpa looks or acts you become his advocate, and the staff at the rehab center will know that your grandfather has someone looking out for him who visits several times a week. My best to your grandfather for a quick recovery.
~Family Resource

photo courtesy: Grandfather Healing via photopin (license)