Our bodies undergo a series of natural changes as we age-externally and internally. Our skin cells divide more slowly and skin begins to thin. Skin retains less moisture, causing it to become dry, scaly, and appear wrinkled. It loses its elasticity and instead of springing back, starts to sag. The skin's ability to repair itself diminishes, and wounds are slower to heal. Blood vessels also become more fragile and it becomes more common for the elderly to bruise. Certain conditions, diseases, or medications also play a role in elderly bruising.
Bruises result when trauma or a blow to the body damages or ruptures tiny blood vessels under the skin. In most cases, bruises occur as a result of an injury or a fall, or when people bump into things. Not only are the elderly more prone to bruising, less force is required to cause a bruise. For example, doctor visits involving intravenous (IV) procedures often make their mark in the form of bruises in older patients, while they may not in younger ones. With greater impact, deeper bruises of the muscles or bone can happen, which take longer to heal.
The medical term for a bruise is contusion. Ecchymosis is the visible skin discoloration caused by the ruptured blood vessels in the tissue near the skin's surface. If a bruise increases in size and becomes swollen and hard, it may be a hematoma, a localized collection of blood which becomes clotted or partially clotted.