Foot problems can affect our enjoyment of life. If the person you’re caring for cannot say they are having problems, you may need to take action to ensure good foot health. Someone with dementia may be unsteady or walk more slowly than they used to but there are also other reasons why your loved one might be less keen to walk.
- Are their shoes a good fit? Check the shoe is deep enough & of the right length at the toes. Make sure there’s no gaping at the sides or gaps/sloppiness at the back of the shoe. It’s best to choose adjustable fasteners (t-bar, laces or strap): slip-ons become ‘slip-offs’ over time.
- Are they wearing slippers all day? Worn out, poorly fitting slippers are a significant cause of accidents amongst elderly people. Many slippers don’t fit well enough to give stability or support to the feet and ‘sloppy slippers’ may encourage your loved one to shuffle, leading to falls. Encourage the wearing of well-fitting shoes in the house from time to time.
- Check skin & nails. These change as we age: skin is more fragile and nails can become very thick. Redness, swelling or open wounds need to be checked out as circulation to the extremities can become less reliable and infections or ulcers can develop more easily. If the person you’re caring for has any of these problems, their feet may be very painful.
- Symptoms you shouldn’t ignore: Swollen or painful toes or feet, especially with persistent redness or discolouration of the skin and/or a discharge. It could mean infection, injury or arthritis. Early treatment is likely to ease the pain quickly and may prevent further complications arising. Seek help from a podiatrist or your GP.