Footcare for the elderly and people living with dementia

Healthy feet are important for everyone to remain mobile and physically active. Those with dementia may have difficulty in communicating their needs, so they may not be able to explain their problems. This can affect many areas of their lives, but a commonly forgotten aspect of caring for those affected by dementia is their foot health. Read on for our advice to help maintain the foot health of any older people you care for.

It is important to check feet daily – feet should be kept clean and dry and toenails should be comfortable and short. When inspecting the feet, look out for calluses and corns, fungal or ingrowing toenails and thickened nails as these can make the feet sore and uncomfortable and impact balance and mobility.

With the elderly, over time they lose fatty padding in their feet so may be more prone to painful hard skin and corns. Clawing of the toes can also cause hard skin and corns on the tops of the toes.

When appropriate you can gently file the hard skin and corns and moisturise the feet at home. Use a urea-based foot cream as this will help to soften the hard skin. Avoid moisturising in-between the toes as this can make the area soggy and lead to fissuring or athlete’s foot.

Good footwear is essential to help protect the feet. Those with dementia may not be able to verbalise pain or discomfort very well so, when looking for suitable footwear, ensure they are well fitted and comfortable. Velcro fastenings can secure the foot and are easy to put on and can also be loosened to allow for any swelling. A wide toe box or open toe can also reduce the risk of damage to the skin.

It’s important to be aware that walking barefoot or in slippers with an open back can lead to trips and falls so these are not ideal. We recommend shoe style slippers to be worn around the house to avoid these types of accidents.
For those who are immobile, make sure socks are warm, comfortably fitting and seam free to prevent indentations in the skin and optimise the circulation.

Personal footcare is important for everyone and good foot health can reduce discomfort and pain, maintain mobility and improve independence and quality of life. If you are concerned about a friend or relative with dementia definitely consider a Podiatrist to help with any foot and ankle problems they may have.

At Dulwich Podiatry Ltd we are experienced with caring for elderly and vulnerable patients and also offer a home visit service. Call us on xxxx to enquire.

Got a question?

Leave your details here and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Please read our Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy
Royal College of Podiatry HCPC registered Podiatrist