Owners' Blog

Elderly Care Awareness: Toenail Fungus

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Elderly Care in Sandy Springs GA

When it comes to building an elderly care plan, it is important to recognize risks your senior parents face that may not be related to other medical conditions and chronic challenges. This awareness and Elderly Care in Sandy Springs GAvigilance allows you to detect potential problems as soon as possible, giving you the opportunity to get your aging loved ones the medical attention and treatments they need. For many elderly adults, one of these risks is toenail fungus. An unpleasant-looking and potentially painful condition, toenail fungus affects senior adults at high rates because older people tend to have lower immune systems and may not engage in as thorough of hygiene practices as they did when they were younger.

Making preventing, detecting, and managing toenail fungus part of your elderly care plan helps protect your aging loved ones from serious discomfort, pain, and a spread of the infection that can impact their overall health. As the fungus is unpleasant-looking and can spread to the fingers, having this type of infection can have a negative impact on your parents’ emotional health, making controlling this condition even more important.

Some of the symptoms of toenail fungus include:

• Thickened nails

• Green, white, or yellow patches, particularly near the edge of the nail

• Soreness or pain isolated in the nail

• Separation or lifting of the nail away from the nail bed

• Foul odor coming from the nails

• Green, yellow, or black discoloration of the entire nail

• Crumbling at the edges

• Distortion to the shape of the nail

• Swelling, redness, or inflammation around the nail and in the nail bed

• Scales on the skin around the edges of the nail

One of the biggest concerns of toenail fungus is that it easily spreads. When infection portions of the nail or skin touch other areas of skin, other toenails, or fingernails, the infection can affect that area as well. This can make management more difficult, particularly for those elderly adults with weaker immune systems or conditions such as diabetes and compromised circulation.

Some of the ways you can protect your elderly parents from toenail fungus include:

• Keep things clean. Always use totally disinfected pedicure supplies on your aging parents and be vigilant about the sanitization practices of instruments if you bring your aging parents to get a professional foot treatment

• Isolate the infection. If you notice a fungal infection in one or more of your elderly parents’ toenails, be careful to isolate the infection by using dedicated clippers specifically for those nails. Once finished, disinfect those clippers carefully

• Protect them in public places. If your parents go to public places where they may come in contact with fungal infections, such as public pools or showers at the gym, encourage them to wear water shoes. Make sure they very carefully wash their feet after these visits

• Support overall health. Reduce the chances of your parents’ contracting a fungal infection and improve their chances of fighting them by supporting their overall physical health. Use high-quality nutrition and routine physical exercise to keep their immune system high. Ask their elderly home care provider to monitor their health and let you know if they notice changes that could indicate a lowered immune system, such as fatigue or respiratory symptoms

If your elderly parents are coping with toenail fungus, get in touch with their physician so they can get an appropriate diagnosis and start a proper course of treatment as soon as possible. Total healing from this type of fungal infection can take up to a year and it is essential to continue treatment until the fungus is completely gone so that it does not return.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for elderly care in Sandy Springs, GA, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Alpharetta. Call today (678) 430-8511.