Our feet work hard to carry us through our daily lives, and keeping them healthy is essential for continued mobility and the sense of independence that accompanies it.
Having feet that are in a state of ill-health can come to impact seniors’ lives in hugely meaningful ways. Caring for one’s own feet can become more challenging for seniors, and it can become easy to neglect podiatric health, but it is important to implement support systems, relevant forms of care, and other strategies that direct attention towards caring for seniors feet in appropriate ways in order to avoid the various concerns, conditions, and diseases that can afflict them.
Feet and Overall Health
It has been said that our feet can act as indicators of the overall state of health of our bodies. It is even true that some health conditions that have pervasive effects on the body, such as arthritis, circulatory problems, and diabetes, are first detected when signs and symptoms are noticed in the feet. For this reason, it is important to monitor seniors’ feet and seek consultation with a healthcare professional whenever changes occur or new difficulties arise. Some things to look out for that may indicate greater health concerns include:
- Constant Feelings of Cold
- Dry Skin
- Weak Nails
Seniors and Their Feet
Seniors have been walking around on their feet for a great many years by the time they reach old age, and the accumulation of all the wear and tear, along with natural changes that come with aging, that has occurred over those years makes seniors’ feet more fragile and vulnerable to developing problems. As a part of the aging process, feet will often flatten out and lose some of the cushioning that exists at the bottom of the foot, while the health of bones, ligaments, skin, and nails also change with age.
As a result of the amount of wear and tear that feet sustain over the course of all the years leading up to old age, it is possible for the feet to develop a whole host of problems that impact seniors’ mobility, comfort levels, and lives as a whole. The following are some concerns commonly faced by seniors:
- Dry Skin
- Heel Spurs
Keeping Feet Healthy
Directing ample care and attention towards our feet is important in terms of both monitoring and maintenance. There are various health-oriented choices that seniors can make and enforce that can help keep feet in better shape.
- Inspect and Check: Inspecting feet on a routine basis creates the opportunity to notice changes and concerns early on and to have them checked by a qualified professional. Seniors need to be particularly vigilant about visually inspecting their feet regularly, because the slowing of circulation that occurs as part of aging makes it so that they may be less able to physically feel changes or discomfort in their feet that would otherwise indicate a concern.
- Clean, Warm, and Dry: Seniors should wash their feet regularly, but also gently, using mild soap and warm (rather than very hot) water, and should follow with moisturizer or lotion. Feet should be thoroughly and completely dried after washing to avoid bacterial or fungal infections.
- Proper Footwear: Improper shoes and socks can result in a whole host of problems for seniors and their feet. Seniors should make sure their shoes fit properly and that they wear socks that won’t irritate skin.
- Get Moving: It is always beneficial to get walking and make sure feet get some degree of exercise on a consistent basis.
- Nail Care: Try to make sure nails are cut straight across so that ingrown toenails don’t occur.
- Use a Footstool: It can be better for circulation to keep feet elevated when sitting, so seniors should have footstools or ottomans available to them in their homes and should avoid sitting in positions that cut off circulation (such as sitting cross-legged).
As seniors grow older and experience changes in their mobility, it can become more challenging for them to attend to the care of their own feet. In these cases, it can be beneficial to seek out support from care providers like Retire-At-Home, who offer foot care for seniors in Edmonton. Caring for seniors’ feet is an important part of caring for their overall health, wellbeing, and quality of life.