We use our hands for thousands of actions and gestures every day, so it's important to take good care of them. For seniors, hand care is especially vital. As we age, skin becomes more delicate and is slower to recover from injuries, and issues such as arthritis stiffen joints, making simple activities difficult.
By taking a few measures to keep their hands healthy and protected, seniors can ensure their hands are in good condition so that they can continue to pursue their favorite pastimes.
The long, dry winters here in Colorado Springs, CO, are hard on the skin, and hands are the most prone to damage due to frequent washing and use. One of the best ways to combat cracked fingertips and raw knuckles is to apply moisturizer and creams each time you wash your hands or bathe.
While it's tempting to wash hands in hot water when the weather is cold, hot water strips your skin of its natural oils quicker than cooler water, so try to use water that's comfortable to the touch.
Overnight moisturizing routines are particularly effective because your hands are left undisturbed for a long time so creams have a long time to soak in and work on repairing your skin.
Wearing a soft pair of cotton gloves ensures that you can keep your sheets and blankets free of residue. For best results, change gloves nightly to prevent the oils in the lotion from spoiling and consider using petroleum jelly if your hands are very dry or chapped.
Like every part of our bodies, hands also benefit from regular exercise. Seniors who experience arthritis pain in their hands may wish to add a few simple stretches and finger exercises to their daily routines to help ease symptoms.
The increased movement can also help build grip strength and boost your range of mobility, so it's a great practice for seniors to adopt. Talk with your doctor and our therapists here at ViewPointe about the best ways to tailor exercise to your individual abilities and needs.
We often think of applying sunscreen on our face and arms to prevent painful burns during the summer when it's hot, but the danger of UV exposure from the sun is present year-round.
Hands, in particular, are prone to damage from the sun's rays because they are often uncovered and exposed during outdoor activities such as reading a book on the patio or taking a stroll around our community's landscaped grounds.
To prevent harmful exposure, buy a sunscreen with good protection and follow the provided instructions, such as how long to wait before going outside after application, for best results.
Wearing protective gloves is a good practice for seniors to adopt when engaged in activities such as gardening or light housekeeping tasks such as washing a few dishes in their assisted living apartment's kitchenette.
In the winter, seniors should wear gloves to prevent wind exposure and help keep hands from becoming too cold when outside. If cold hands are an issue even when indoors, try using fingerless gloves to insulate your hands while still maintaining your hand's natural mobility.
Here at ViewPointe, our residents can join an active knitting group called Sew What. Members often make small items such as gloves, mittens and wrist warmers. Interested seniors can check the community calendar for scheduled meetings.
Seniors have been washing their hands and using hand sanitizer more often than ever in recent months, which can take a toll on their hands. To help ease the wear on your hands while still maintaining good hygiene practices, use a mild soap or one with moisturizing benefits.
Whenever possible, wash hands in favor of using hand sanitizer, which can dry out your skin and cause an increase of symptoms in individuals with eczema and other skin issues.
Residents at ViewPointe are encouraged to live as they prefer, so even though we provide housekeeping services, seniors are welcome to take care of light cleaning tasks themselves. Whether seniors choose to help clean during a volunteer activity at their church or wipe down the counters in their senior apartment, it's best to wear protective gloves.
Nail health is a key component to the overall condition of seniors' hands. Though it's normal for nails to become more dry and brittle as we age, many simple steps can be taken to help improve nail strength and appearance.
Dermatologists also recommend using cuticle oil to nourish your nails when moisturizing your hands. Keeping fingernails trimmed short can help reduce the risk of damaging breaks, and gently filing the edges can help prevent snags and hangnails from forming.
Our fancy nail offerings are popular among both our assisted living and memory care residents here at ViewPointe, and it's a great time to engage in a conversation with our staff about additional steps you can take to improve your nail health.
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