There’s no way to stop the passage of time, and while there’s no age limit on living a healthy and active life, as mom and dad get older they may start to need a little help with daily tasks.
If you’re providing daily or weekly care to an elderly loved one, it’s important not to overlook the health of their feet. Strong, healthy feet are crucial for retaining as much mobility, independence, dignity, and quality of life as possible. However, they’re also one of the most easily injured parts of the human body, and one of the first to be affected by conditions like diabetes, neuropathy, or poor circulation.
Here are 6 ways you can help keep your older loved one’s feet healthy and protect them from injury and infection:
- Give them a quick foot inspection at least once per week, or more often (ideally daily) if they have diabetes. This is the most important task you can perform for them. Inspect the foot visually for cuts, abrasions, sores, rashes, etc., and feel them for bumps or temperature changes. Sores, ulcers and any other problems that aren’t showing improvement should receive immediate professional care.
- Keep their toenails trimmed. Nails should be cut straight across (not curved) and not too short. Poorly trimmed nails are at greater risk for becoming ingrown.
- Get them moving. Take your parent for a short walk if they are physically able. If not, you can still encourage them to get their feet moving by having them wiggle their ankles and toes for a few minutes.
- Give them a foot bath. Use lukewarm-to-warm soapy water. Afterward, dry their feet completely and use a moisturizing cream on the tops and bottoms of the feet, then have them put on clean socks. This promotes good hygiene and helps prevent both skin infections (like athlete’s foot) and dry skin problems (like cracked heels).
- Give them a gentle foot massage. Not only will this feel good, but it also will help encourage blood flow and efficient circulation.
- Schedule a check-up at our office at least once per year for your parent. We’ll provide any care you can’t handle on your own (such as orthotics fitting, trimming corns and calluses, etc.) and test your loved one’s nerve and circulatory health.
If you’re ready to schedule that check-up, or your parent has an existing foot issue that needs to be addressed, make a call to the experts at Martin Foot and Ankle at (717) 757-3537. Even if you’re the primary caregiver, you’re never alone—let our team help you provide the foot and ankle attention your aging loved one needs and deserves.