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(My mom is actually the one who normally cleans under grandma’s nails, not normally me). So mom tried cleaning under grandma’s nails after they both washed their hands but grandma hated it and said mom was being mean! Mom was able to clean some but nails are still not completely cleaned up. Hand washing is of course always important but especially important during the COVID-19 outbreak and we are concerned with grandma’s nails staying dirty. Anyone have any helpful tips on how we can get her to let us clean under her nails? I hate to say it but they look gross and who knows what is under them 😬

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Set up a little dish with warm water and soap. Pamper her and tell her you are giving her a manicure. Soak the nails in warm water for 10 minutes and pat dry gently with towel. Give her a hand massage with scented lotion. If she enjoys this, you can do this with her feet too. Warm water foot bath with epsom salt will help remove dead skin, and relax her. Hope this works for you. PS I use a Dremel file (walmart) for thick toe nails in poor condition, impossible to cut without soak. Impossible to cut period Good luck. I know how hard it is to do personal care on unwilling client.
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Reply to humes11
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If she is able, having her help do the dishes is a great way to get her hands clean. I have also given my MIL a dish of soapy water with a toothbrush and asked her to help me clean my jewelry. This approach was easier because she is in a wheelchair , so we just set it up on the kitchen table.
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Reply to Bostongrammy
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gdaughter Mar 19, 2020
VERY CLEVER!!
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Play SPA DAY !!!!! happy happy... We got to soak these for a bit... warm water, fresh aroma,, peroxide.. soft brush.. pink splash of fun juice... soft music...

hydrogene peroxide ... happy music... Q TIPS... soft nail files..as far as you can until she starts complaining.. then go to the next hand or foot.. and repeat.

warm soft water... warm wash cloth-wrapped around hand ever so softly, gentle pressure around the curves of the palms n fingers, and rub... sometimes.. it looks kind of filthy feeling if they hold food in their hands for snacks...
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Reply to MAYDAY
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I bought those surgeons' scrub brushes at the pharmacy and we use them. the bristles are soft plastic/silicone and i have found my mom to be less resistant when i use them. we disinfect them after each use.
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Reply to Lulu835
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My brother is in a nursing home, he had a brainstem bleed traumatic brain injury. Can’t walk, talk, swallow. Has a feeding tube.
His hands are curled in pretty badly from the spasticity and contracture. He somehow manages to get really disgusting nails. His lack of coordination meant also that he would gouge his face or ears when just trying to scratch an itch. Pretty gross and god knows what bacteria he was injecting into those cuts.

I would wash his hands then clip the nails but had a real problem with it bleeding. The solution that made me able to safely clip his nails was to do a pre-cleaning under his nails with the slanted end of an orange stick used in manicures. I wrap an alcohol prep pad over it and clean all the gunk out from under the nail, pushing the skin that tends to grow under the nail down. I change the positioning of the pad for each finger, always using a clean surface, and using a nee pad for each hand. That creates not only a cleaner more sanitized nail but also makes it safer to clip since you have a nice white line showing you how far you can clip and not make it bleed. I clip just shy of that and then do lots of filing smooth so he doesn’t scratch himself. Make sure to file the corners of each nail because as they grow out even a little they can be so so sharp for someone who has coordination issues.
Oh yes I also do a pre soak of each hand in a plastic hand basin with a little antibacterial soap added. His hands get horribly mildewy smelling because he keeps his hands partially clenched due to the contracture. Have not found any doctor or nurse who can advise on how to mitigate that. Facility staff won’t do any of this. They categorise nail clipping as a surgical procedure. So I do the above process with his hands and with his feet too. Otherwise he would have nasty dirty talons. They also don’t clean eyes, ears, noses even on patients like my brother who can do none of this himself. I do it but now with the coronavirus lockdown he is going to be a mess.
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Reply to CaregiverTxX2
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Sweetstuff Mar 17, 2020
You are a wonderful sister!
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I have success using my mother’s secret to clean nails! Soak her fingertips in denture cleaner. We use $1 store denture tablets. Leaves nails clean and bright! Hope you find what will work for you! I still soak my nails in denture cleaner and remember mom.❤️
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Reply to angelsfrom1981
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MAYDAY Mar 21, 2020
gonna try that ! thx.
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I use a toothbrush with mom.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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I second MAYDAYs suggestions.... I do my moms nails weekly and find that soaking them in warm soapy water softens the nails thus, causing less pain when touching, filing and trimming them and also helps loosen the unwanted under-nail-GUNK for easier removal (for which I use a kids toothbrush with soft bristles). I've been keeping them shorter than usual as of late to make keeping them clean easier.
Good Luck!
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Reply to Floridagirl6
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A soft toothbrush or nail brush with antibacterial soap. Both can be sterilized in dishwasher . Washing dishes is a great idea if she's able. My mom fights me cutting toenails. They grow so long and curve under. I am a licensed cosmetologist, I say I learned this in beauty school. She doesn't care ,whines like a little girl. Her toes are a mess. When I first realized she had stopped cutting them, they had grown so far down she was walking on them.
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Reply to hairgirlie
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I have to say I so get you. 6 months it took to get my 94 year old grandmother to cut her 5+inch nails... ick. She is so old school uses the hanky after blowing her nose to drying her eyes. I finally found a happy medium. Say you want to show her something. Go to a sink or bring two bowls of hot water with soap petals and get her to play with them. As you do and make sensual noises and she will want to see for herself why you are so happy. Sounds silly but it worked. Now we have graduated to the sink and was together. It's like reverse psychology... I never thought she'd come this far. But with many tears time and hope. I can eat with her without feeling that ick. Ah. Thank the lord. Or pull the cleanliness is closest to godliness... that worked for a friend... she told her not washing properly was as bad as saying the lords name in vain... yeah. Sadly we do what we must... much love and luck to you all blessings. Jo
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Reply to Cupofjoe34
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 21, 2020
Toenails become an issue too. Really bad because of risking ingrown nails.
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