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Foot Care for Seniors

When we were children we were “dying” to get older, “out of school…yay” and start working. Then we worked for another 40 – 50 years and we retire. FINALLY…time to relax and enjoy life! The children are adults now and in some cases out the house.

Why is it that it isn’t a smooth transition from years of hard work to relaxation? Simple, over the years the body was used and literally abused so now all the aches and pains are surfacing. We didn’t eat right, eat on time, exercise, go for regular check-ups or wear sensible shoes. So the results of such are overweight, lifestyle diseases, back and foot pains from those too high, too tight, too thin heels we wore for years in the name of style.

Most of us were born with normal/healthy feet however the statistics rarely remain that way; it’s converted into every other person you meet has foot problems, some aren’t even aware. It’s a natural part of the aging process and it ranges from normal wear and tear to ailments/diseases. Some of the most common ones are diabetes, arthritis, circulatory and nerve disorders.Some of these ailments can cause poor blood flow and if untreated, scrapes or bruises can become infected and lead to more serious problems like ulcers.

Attention needs to be paid to foot hygiene, the cutting of nails, the type of socks and stockings/hosiery worn, type of shoes and other matters concerning the feet.  When foot care services aren’t executed frequently, seniors could end up becoming immobile. Many are unable to even trim their own toe nails. The restriction in flexibility and mobility that comes with old age can prevent seniors from even reaching their toes. Seniors may need access to professional/medical services because of problems with poor circulation, ulcers or overlapping toes.

High quality foot health care should be provided to elderly patients to improve the quality of their life and ensure they remain healthy and mobile in older years. The need for assistance in maintaining  independence, social contact ,and  mobility for seniors, should be an important part of any service available to them.

Hygiene

Washing the feet must be part of your daily routine followed by drying the feet especially between the toes to prevent athlete’s foot. Moisturising is the next critical step to ensure that the feet are well maintained. Seniors tend to suffer from dry skin since the body is no longer as hydrated as it used to be. Changing socks/stockings every day is also very important, just as not walking barefooted, to avoid contracting fungal infections.

Nails

Having nails clipped should be a regular occurrence. Many seniors have extremely thick nails, so the length and shape it is cut is important. Nails should be cut straight across to ensure that ingrown doesn’t occur, as this could usher in another realm of extreme pain and discomfort.

Footwear

Select comfortable footwear that holds your feet firmly. Lace-up and soft-upper shoes are best. Improper footwear can lead to seniors slipping and falling. This is particularly dangerous as persons over 60 are more susceptible to falls that can lead to broken ankles, legs, hands and hip.

 Cuts/Ulcers

Blisters on the feet should be left alone and should not be punctured (pricked) to release the fluid, but left to dry up on their own. Should it open on its own and discharge liquid, dress with an antiseptic dressing. If there is pain, itching, swelling or colour changes in the feet or legs, or if a cut/ulcer (sore) is not healing with home care, visit yourdoctor/ podiatrist/ chiropodist/ foot health practitioner. Prolonging seeking professional care could lead to gangrene which leads to amputations.

Swollen Feet

Our experience has shown that swelling of the feet is very common, and it could be a sign of other serious problems. This needs to be monitored. If it persists, it’s time to check your foot care professional.

As a rule of thumb, to ensure optimum foot health, seniors should visit their doctor/podiatrist/chiropodist/foot health practitioner at least bi-annually for persons who are in control, and quarterly or every 6 weeks for those who need additional care.

 

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

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