Our feet carry us our entire lives.
On top of that, as we age, various health problems arise-diabetes, joint problems, heart issues-to name a few.
It is therefore no wonder that people develop problems with their feet in their old age.
As a family caregiver, one of the best things you can do for an elderly loved one is to help them get proper foot and nail care.
In today’s post, we will go over how you can provide excellent foot and nail care to your elderly loved one.
Let’s delve into it.
Foot and nail care for the elderly
Get to know your podiatrist
Podiatrists are trained medical professionals who diagnose and treat all kinds of foot illnesses. They can also take care of seemingly regular foot and nail problems like thickened nails that are hard to cut and bunions.
Your feet and nails can be an indicator of other health problems. A podiatrist may help catch the health issue before it becomes a problem.
My mom-in-law recently had a painful ingrown toenail while she was visiting us recently.
We had a podiatrist take a look at her foot and he was able to resolve the issue quickly.
So get familiar and friendly with your podiatrist and save yourself and your family from expensive problems later on.
Inspect feet daily
This way, you will notice any abnormalities in how your loved one’s feet look.
Wash and moisturize the feet daily
Keep dirt and nasty microbes away from your loved one’s feet by washing them each day.
For most people, the feet tend to dry up quickly. Thus it is also helpful to use a moisturizer after washing.
I especially love petroleum jelly for my feet because it keeps dryness away longer.
Keeping the feet moisturized will not only protect your loved one’s feet from dryness but will also keep blisters from forming.
After washing, keep the feet dry
Bacteria and fungi love to hide and grow in warm and damp areas of our bodies.
You don’t want these to become an issue as they are hard to treat!
(I know this to be true from personal experience as well.)
So after washing your loved one’s feet, use a towel to dry their feet completely.
Some people go ahead and use foot powders to keep the moisture away.
If a podiatrist approves, this can be another way to keep your loved one’s feet nice and dry.
A nail file to keep nails straight
A good way to prevent ingrown toenails is to make sure you’re cutting nails straight across.
Even if you use nail clippers to cut a majority of your loved one’s nails, it is always helpful to finish off with a nail file to keep the nails straight.
Wear proper-fitting shoes
Ill-fitting shoes only cause pain and can lead to problems with the bones and ligament in the feet.
If your loved one needs orthotic shoes, a quick Google search in your area or calls using the Yellow Pages should yield a place where you can go and get your loved one fitted for the right shoes.
Diabetic foot care
If your elderly loved one has diabetes, they need special foot care.
The first step to taking care of a diabetics foot is to make sure their diabetes is under control.
This includes, checking blood sugar, regular exercise, healthy diet choices and visits to the doctor to make sure any prescribed medication is working.
In addition to the tips I shared above, it is also important that diabetics wear protective foot wear at all times.
For most diabetics, a small cut to the foot will go unhealed and could become an even bigger problem that can lead to infections and even amputation. Thus wearing shoes or socks, at the very least, is essential for a diabetic.
Arthritis and foot care
If your loved one has arthritis, they will most likely be in a lot of pain all the time.
Their doctor will prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the symptoms of disease.
It’s important to stick to this regimen so your loved one can live a functional life as much as possible.
Following the general tips above for a loved one with arthritis will help them enjoy healthy feet as well.
Don’t go to nail salons you don’t trust
As much as nail salons can be a wonderful experience, for your loved one with an existing health condition such as diabetes, it is always important to be careful.
You can call ahead and let the nail salon know for instance that your loved one has a health condition that affects their feet and find out if they can accommodate that.
Otherwise, I recommend sticking to a podiatrist for foot care especially if there is an underlying health issue.
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