Hand & Nail Care becomes more important as one ages. In caring for senior hands and nails, it’s important to make daily efforts to protect aging skin and nails from harsh environmental effects of water, chemicals, temperature, and use.

The skin on the hands is often the first to show signs of aging, due to sun exposure over time without SPF protection, including brown pigmentation spots. More damage can be avoided by using an SPF 15-30 hand cream whenever seniors go outside. It’s also good to suggest to your loved one that he/she wear gloves for gardening and/or working outside in the sun.

First, encourage your loved one to use a rich hand cream every day to maintain the skin of his/her hands, or gently massage cream onto his/her hands and arms during your visits if necessary.

This nourishing scrub can be made for your loved one to use on hands (and feet!) every few days:

  • Mix together two tablespoons of olive oil or grape seed oil with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • Rub the mixture into hands and feet, focusing on calloused areas.
  • Rinse under warm running water and pat dry for ultra-smooth, hydrated skin.

As we age, nails also grow at a slower rate. As nail growth rates slow, the nails are exposed to considerably more environmental influences, and these exposures over time can affect the overall appearance and strength of nails.

Regular monthly or weekly fingernail care is simple and should include:

  • Gentle trimming and smoothing with an emery board or nail file.
  • Gentle cleaning/scrubbing under the nails with a soft nail brush.
  • Softening of the cuticles by using a mixture of 1/2 cup bath oil mixed with 1/2 cup water and heated on High in a microwave for 30 seconds. Place the solution in a deep bowl and soak fingers in it for 10-15 minutes. After drying with a soft cloth or tissue, use an orange stick to gently push back cuticles.
  • Buffing nails with a soft buffing brush to bring out a healthy shine.

If your loved one’s fingernails are flaking, apply a little olive oil directly to them and massage it in gently.

A monthly professional manicure and/or pedicure for a senior also can genuinely boost his/her well being. Aging hands and feet will not only look better, but feel better, and can be a real boost to self-esteem. A great gift idea is purchasing nail care services at your loved one’s local nail salon where he/she can be treated to a monthly manicure or pedicure.

Skin, hair, and nail supplements also are sometimes worthwhile for seniors if they are prone to weak, splitting nails. Supplements need to be taken daily for at least three months, however, as results aren’t noticeable immediately.

Whether your loved one still lives at home or lives in an assisted living facility, it’s important to help him/her with these essential yet simple assists in hand & nail care to maintain a healthy outlook and appearance.

The Terrace Assisted Living and Pacific Care Center can answer questions you may have regarding your loved one’s Hand & Nail Care during their stay with us. We’re here to provide each resident with the highest quality of care possible. Please don’t hesitate to ask us about how we can help your loved one and your family have peace of mind regarding his/her hand & nail care.