What Caregivers Should Know About a Parent’s Feet
The role of caregiver for an elderly parent isn’t always easy, but it’s an important one that sons and daughters often must adjust to as they age. You want what’s best for your parent, of course, but managing daily details for another person, not to mention keeping an eye out for any signs of physical problems, can be stressful and confusing.
Unfortunately, the health of feet can often be overlooked by caregivers. We want to help you take away your stress, not add to it, so here’s a handy list of things you should know about your parents’ feet:
- They get wider as they age—and over the course of the day. When you take your parent out shoe shopping, go late in the day, and measure each time to ensure shoes are still fitting correctly.
- Feet should be checked thoroughly for damage at least a couple times per week, or daily with diabetes. Look for signs of redness and swelling,
cutsand scrapes, blisters, corns, calluses, dry skin, cracked heels—anything out of the ordinary. Circulation and immunity slow with age—doubly so with diabetes—and that means even small problems are more likely to develop into wounds or get infected.
- Keep them clean and moisturized to prevent fungal infections. Feet should be washed and dried thoroughly at least once per day, and it’s a good idea to moisturize afterword to prevent dry, cracked skin. Make sure your parent puts on a fresh pair of socks every day and has at least two pairs of comfortable, breathable shoes to rotate every other day.
- Trimming technique matters. Nails that are either too long or too short can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. Keep them trimmed about even with the front of the toe, and cut straight across from corner to corner (rather than curved).
- You’re never too old to improve balance. Falls are one of the most common, costly, and even deadly causes of injury among seniors. If your parent is still mobile, take them for a walk or help them with some balance exercises.
If you’re concerned about any problems with your parents’ feet, or if it’s simply time for another diabetic or senior foot checkup, take them out to see Dr. Stuart Birnbaum at Brook Valley Podiatry. We specialize in helping patients in their seventh, eighth, even ninth and tenth decades maintain foot health, mobility, and quality of life. Request an appointment online, or call (845) 352-7507 for Spring Valley, NY.