Connecting Seniors with Care  

The benefits of wearing compression stockings


Seniors can experience vein problems in their legs. One of the first signs is having legs that are heavy or swollen in the evening. This could be an indicator of venous insufficiency, which is a widespread disease that goes unrecognized.

The impaired blood transport in the venous system for the legs results in poorer blood supply to the body’s tissues.  The result is that the skin on the lower leg becomes discolored brown, becomes thinner and susceptible to infection.  Minor injuries no longer heal completely. Leg ulcers can develop. 

Seniors with the initial symptoms of venous insufficiency should become active and wear medical compression stockings on a regular basis. 

Medical compression stockings exert precisely defined levels of pressure along the leg, which compresses the veins.  This helps pump the blood back toward the heart and stops blood pooling in the legs. 

Compression stockings need to be prescribed by a doctor. It is important that other medical conditions be taken into consideration prior to and during the use of the stockings. The doctor will determine what compression level would best suit the needs of each senior. Some seniors may require an Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) to determine if they can safely go into compression stockings

Compression stockings should be considered to be medicine for the legs that is prescribed by a doctor and therefore, used as the doctor has stated. Follow-up appointments with the doctor are required.

The prescription will state the type of stockings needed for the individual seniors’ requirements. The senior should then go to a Pharmacy that has trained Home Medical supply staff to meet with a certified fitter. These fitters are trained and knowledgeable in determining if clients need further tests to determine if they can safely be in compression stockings and they are trained to measure for these garments to put the seniors into the correct product for their level of need.

The fitter will demonstrate the correct way to put the stockings on to ensure that the proper compression is at each location of the foot, ankle and calf of the leg. If the compression stockings are not put on properly then the effectiveness is reduced, in addition to being uncomfortable. If the compression stockings have a hole in them then the compression is lost. A new pair of stockings is needed.

Rubber gloves should always be worn when putting on and taking off the stockings. The stockings will go on easier and have less chance of being damaged. This will also help protect the fragile skin of seniors during the process.  
The putting on and removal of compression stockings takes strength and flexibility. If the senior is not capable of doing this then someone else needs to be trained to do so.

If the senior was a veteran then Veterans Affairs may cover the cost of the stockings. The stockings may be covered on an extended health care plan or used as an income tax claim as medical expenses.

For further information contact Dyck’s Pharmacists 250-861-3466.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Sharen Marteny created Seniors Consulting a division of Marteny Seniors Consulting Ltd, which assists families of seniors determine the needs and wants of seniors when living at home is no longer an option. Care Coordination is done for seniors when the family does not live in the area and provides a temporary 24-hour emergency contact to allow families to take a well deserved vacation or respite.

She is a member of the United Way Campaign and focuses on raising funds for registered charities that relate to seniors. She is also on the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission Advisory Board to ensure the products and services that seniors need will be available. Sharen's goal is to ensure that issues relevant to seniors are addressed.

She is a Certified Seniors Advisor with over 25 years experience in management and the seniors' retirement industry.



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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