2012 Holiday Gifts for Aging Fathers and Grandfathers–2

  • Health and Hygiene continued from Dec. 4th, but I decided it deserves its own post….I’ll continue with gift categories 5-7, Hearing, Pampering, and Vision before week’s end.

Old Feet: are not gifts. But good, old feet are a gift.  Helping preserve them doesn’t seem to be at the top of most older people’s list of priorities—until problems arise. Now think gifts for aging feet.

  • 1. The first thing that comes to mind is a good toe nail clipper for those who have dexterity and don’t have diabetes. Dr. Pamela Karman, Diplomate/American Board of Foot Surgeons, adds that toenails soften when soaked in warm water for a few minutes–making them easier to cut. So a note about the warm water, accompanying with the clipper, would seem to be a good idea.
  • 2. Also consider Gifting (includes arranging for) regular pedicure appointments for those who have dexterity or diabetes problems or can no longer easily reach to cut their toenails. (You can make the gift certificate.) At a certain age cutting toe nails becomes difficult (for both men and women). I only realized this when Dad, at 90, said he was going to Mom’s hairdresser’s and would be back shortly.  Since Mother had died, I was curious.  “Oh,” he said, “many of us from the nearby golf course now go there to have our toenails trimmed.  I can still take the golf ball out of the cup, but it’s difficult for me to bend and reach that far to cut my toenails.”  Who knew?
  • 3. Is gifting an appointment with a podiatrist another gift idea? Yes, if deformed toenails, bunions or anything that could interfere with balance is an issue. While I’m not certain how to discretely detect these problems, beginning a discussion using some of the facts below can be a good starting place.

A NY Times column cites Dr. Richard Scher, head of the Nail Section at Weil Cornell Medical College, explaining that finger and toe nails’ growth rate rapidly decreases with age; thus both kinds of nails thicken due to the piling up of cells, although fingernails don’t thicken as much. (Finger nails have a slower growth rate, the result of filing and buffing which thins them).

Additionally, long-term trauma and poor circulation take their toll on toe nails, as do injuries, stubbing, wearing ill-fitting shoes, nail-bed injuries and nail fungus.

I discussed the above with Dr. Karman. She suggests having pedicures once a month after age 55-60, reiterating “this especially holds true for people with diabetes or unsteady hands.”

Since balance can be involved, and poor balance can lead to falls, make certain bedroom slippers have nonskid soles and favorite shoes have heels and soles that are in good shape.

  • 4.  A good pair of bedroom slippers with nonskid soles–a good gift idea!
  • 5.  Arranging shoe repair and perhaps a shoe shine for favorite, worn out shoes–another idea. I know Dad hated to give up his favorite shoes, but it was important they ensured good balance, which meant nonskid soles and no worn-down heels.
  • 6. Balance is a major concern for most older people and gifting the alert pendant or bracelet can be a lifesaver for a living-alone aging parent….if they’ll accept it and don’t leave it in a drawer! Check this 12/28/10, post and the 1/2011 part-2 post that follows re: alert pendants reviewed.
  • 7.  What about new socks? Check out the sock supply. Do socks compliment clothing? Is aging vision creating confusion between black and navy? If treatment for toe nail fungus takes place, socks must be throughly disinfected in washing machine or purchase new socks….otherwise fungus will come back, according to Dr. Karman.
  • 8.  Would a small flashlight to keep in the sock drawer be helpful in distinguishing colors? Check out the Maglite. It’s a quality little flashlight that is carried by many stores (a store locator is on this site) and on line.






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