Our feet support our whole body. It therefore makes sense to take good care of them. It affects our mobility and to a significant degree, our motivation to walk, exercise and stay active. As we know,
Our feet support our whole body. It therefore makes sense to take good care of them. It affects our mobility and to a significant degree, our motivation to walk, exercise and stay active. As we know, physical activity and regular exercise is encouraged at any age, including older adults living with symptoms of dementia. Therefore, foot care is an important aspect of dementia care.
Appropriate and comfortable footwear, such as, wearing the right size and fit as well as non-slippery shoes have many benefits including of course, preventing an older adult from slipping or falling. A fall for an older adult can be detrimental, devastating and deadly.
Ideal footwear has the ability to promote an active lifestyle and increased socialization. If a person living with symptoms of dementia shows a decline in interest going out or seemingly afraid to move or walk, it’s important to check their footwear to investigate. As a reminder, “there’s always a reason behind the behaviour”.
Do you know that the recommended frequency for replacing running shoes is every 500 miles or approximately 1 million steps? Something to note is that approximately, 10 minutes of walking is equivalent to about 1,000 steps. Therefore, replacing footwear, when necessary, even when they still “look new” is ideal for a person’s well-being.
A tip for caregivers is to consider buying a couple of pairs of shoes or more as “back-ups” of the shoes they already have, so that when it comes time to replace them, it will not be as confusing or a dramatic change for the person with dementia. This idea could reduce a struggle to convince them to wear the newer shoes.
Basic Tips for Healthy Feet for People Living with Symptoms of Dementia
Here are some basic tips to help caregivers assist the person they are caring for:
One final note to keep in mind is that if the person you are caring for is not able to effectively communicate as they used to, we must always keep in mind that there is a person behind the dementia who can still feel. They may still want to look good and be presentable and they also deserve to be comfortable…this includes their foot care.
As caregivers for people living with symptoms of dementia, there are several ways we can help support and maintain their well-being and likewise, make our role, as their primary caregivers, less stressful and more fulfilling. Footcare is an important, yet, possibly, one of the more neglected aspects of dementia care. Let’s make sure that this becomes a part of their complete care plan.
Karen Tyrell CPCA, CDCP is a Dementia Consultant, Educator, Author & Advocate, and Founder of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc. (www.DementiaSolutions.ca). Karen offers her expertise on dementia care through speaking engagements, workshops, support groups and by working one-on-one with families and caregivers to provide emotional support and practical solutions. She was also on the design team for The Village Langley and provides ongoing education to the Village team, families and the community.
DISCLAIMER:The contents of this blog are provided for information purposes only. They are not intended to replace clinical diagnosis or medical advice from a health professional.
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