Most of us take having healthy feet for granted most of our lives. After all, other than some periodic cleaning and perhaps a pedicure or two, there is not much that needs doing to keep our feet in good shape. However, as you age, foot care becomes more and more important and is an essential aspect of health care for seniors.
Basic Daily Care
Good senior care includes taking care of the entire body, top to bottom. Some basic elements of caring for the feet can help prevent problems and identify potential issues as they arise.
- Wash the feet with warm water and gentle soap, such as baby wash, and then dry thoroughly. Be certain to dry around and in-between each of the toes as well.
- Check the feet daily to look for any sores, blisters, cuts, swelling or infected toenails.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to any sores, blisters or cuts and cover with a clean bandage.
- Apply gentle, unscented lotion to feet and work in well, then wipe away any excess. Avoid getting lotion into any sores, cuts or blisters.
- Encourage the senior individual to wear clean socks and supportive shoes every day to keep the feet dry, clean and protected.
Basic Weekly Care
Once a week, carefully trim the toenails straight across using clean trimmers. Do not cut the toenail any shorter than the end of the toe and file down any rough edges.
Another element of senior care that most seniors will appreciate is a weekly foot rub. This increases circulation to the feet, which also helps prevent problems and feels quite nice as well. Perform the massage after the feet are clean and lotion is applied.
Overall Basic Care
One of the best ways to help a senior take care of their feet and overall health in general is to encourage daily physical activity. Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, reduces fatigue, increases energy and improves immune system functioning.
An excellent form of physical exercise for most seniors is walking, as this is a low-impact exercise performed at a comfortable rate. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking, 5 times a week.
In addition, some specific foot exercises will help keep those feet in tip-top form:
- Hold a table edge and lift up onto the toes. Rock back onto the heels and lift up the toes. Repeat 20 times.
- Place marbles on the floor and have the senior pick the marbles up with their toes.
- Sit down and flex the toes up, then point down. Repeat five times and then rotate each ankle in both directions five times as well.
Foot care is an important part of senior care and should be a daily part of caretaking efforts in order to help maintain a high quality of life and prevent potential issues. Once foot problems set in, most seniors have difficulty walking and begin to lose what independence they have left.