an elderly woman sitting on the floor
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Because many seniors can't reach their feet, giving them a regular pedicure is often much appreciated. If you have an elderly parent, knowing how to treat their feet is essential. As you age, your skin changes. This includes the skin on your feet. The skin on elderly feet is often thin and the nails tend to be thicker. Elderly people are known to have poor circulation and a decreased nerve feeling in their feet.

Provide the elderly person with a sturdy, comfortable chair to sit in. Avoid swivel and rolling chairs, because these may be hard for some seniors to get up from.

Soak the senior's feet for 10 minutes, in a basin filled with lukewarm water and mild liquid soap. Aim for a water temperature that is no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't use water that's any hotter, because this slows down circulation and may even cause burns.

Pat the feet dry with a towel, including the areas between the toes.

Trim the toenails with a clipper. Clip the nails straight across, from one end to the other. Avoid rounding the nails at the corners, because this may cause ingrown toenails.

File any rough or sharp edges of the toenails. Don't move the nail file in a sawing motion. Instead, move it in one direction only, then lift it up and bring it back to the starting point.

Rub a sloughing lotion on the bottom of the feet. A sloughing lotion exfoliates the feet -- removing dry skin. Avoid using a callus file or pumice stone, because these may be too rough and damage the skin.

Apply cuticle softener to the toenail cuticles. Avoid pushing back the cuticles, because this can lead to infections at the base of the nails.

Massage a foot or body lotion into the feet. Lightly massage in an upward motion, working toward the heart. Massaging the feet regularly helps improve circulation.

Apply nail polish remover to a cotton ball. Swipe the cotton ball over the toenails to remove lotion and other product residue.

Enhance the toenails, if giving a pedicure to a female senior. Apply a single layer of a clear base coat to the toenails. Then swipe two layers of nail polish onto the nails. Finish with a single layer of a clear top coat. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next.


Get clearance before giving regular pedicures; have a podiatrist examine the senior's feet first.

Examine the senior's feet each time you give a pedicure. If you notice any redness, swelling or ingrown toenails, recommend a visit to the doctor.

Always soak elderly feet before trimming the nails. Soaking them softens thick nails and makes it easier to trim them.