Companion Care at Home
9 January 2023,

As a person ages, their nails begin to change. If you help your loved one with his shoes or nails, you may have noticed a change in his toenails. As a person gets older, the nails often get thicker and more yellow. They can become brittle and unfortunately, are more susceptible to nail fungus.

Toenail care, even if your parent hates the way they look, is important to avoid infection or ingrown nails. Ingrown toenails are when the nail starts to grow under the surrounding skin, leading to pain and sometimes infection.

You can’t change his nails, but you can help keep them healthy and address issues before they become too big.

  1. Have him visit his podiatrist regularly.
    A podiatrist can help your loved one avoid painful ingrown toenails by trimming nails the correct way. If your loved one can’t trim his nails, the podiatrist can do it for him or send home instructions for his companion care at home team, so that they are trimming them in a way that’s best for him. A podiatrist can also look for foot and toe issues that may indicate other health concerns.
  2. Trim nails regularly,
    Once you learn how to trim your loved one’s nails, you’ll need to keep doing it. If reaching his toes is an issue, you can help or have his home team take up the task. It’s not only trimming, but also cleaning around and under the toenails, being careful not to injure the skin. Thick nails can be trimmed after a good soaking to help cut cleanly through the nail.
  3. Give the feet some air.
    Many seniors like to wear shoes and socks around the home to keep their feet warm or prevent tripping or stumbling. However, feet need to breathe some fresh air occasionally. So, if your senior wears house shoes all day and then puts socks on at night, his feet and toes cannot completely dry and air out. He may have moisture constantly locked in around his feet, which can lead to bacterial growth. Encourage your loved one to take off his shoes and socks when watching TV or going to bed. A companion care at home provider can help by administering an Epsom salt foot soak, and then having your loved one let his feet dry afterwards.
  4. Eat well.
    What your loved one eats can affect the quality of his nails. Dry, brittle nails could indicate his diet is missing key nutrients. Eating more fruits, leafy greens, lean meats, salmon, beans, eggs, nuts, and whole grains may improve his nails.

Nail care is an important part of personal grooming, but it’s often overlooked. Help your loved one stay on top of his nail care, and he’ll thank you for it in the long run.

For more information about how caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents stay in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable Companion Care at Home in La Jolla, CA, and the surrounding communities.