My sis and I are in FL and visited our mother in memory care for the first time since our governor opened nursing homes to loved ones. She said her right foot hurt, and while she's usually very difficult and belligerent about everything, she allowed us to look at her feet. We were shocked to discover that during the six months of lock down, her toe nails had grown up over, around and under her toes. We were horrified. We had an unusually good visit with her, but afterwards I immediately notified the nurse administrator. I wish now I had gotten photos, but I wasn't thinking straight. Before posting this I read other Aging Care posts about toe nail care. We know a podiatrist will be necessary at least for the first cut, because of the seriousness of the problem. But I'm terribly concerned Mom will refuse to allow anyone to care for her feet, including my sis or me. When we try to do things for her, like cut her hair, she'll just say, "I'll wait until I get home." I don't know what to do about this.

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I want to thank everyone for their care, advice and concern. While I'm extremely shocked, hurt and angry that the NH didn't act proactively on this, we've taken firm steps, and the matter was resolved yesterday WITHOUT a fight from our mother. I was relieved beyond words. Now that we are able to visit again, my sis and I will be keeping extremely close tabs on all this. Because of Mom's extreme psychological volatility, we would call her during lockdown, but it never ended successfully. We asked the nursing staff to send us periodic photos, but of course, none of that would indicate what was going on with her feet. We were concerned about visiting through windows and doorways, because we were very concerned she'd lash out. Our time with Mom once the NH opened up again has gone much better than anticipated, but we can see, within a six month period, how she's changed.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Weeble

Just have the facility schedule the podiatrist. If there is an issue, deal with it when it occurs.

There is an Italian proverb "don't put a bandage on your head until it is broken".

I think that applies here and to a lot of elder care.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

It was about 5 years ago that I noticed that Dad's toenails were wrapping around the end of his toes. He was wearing a pair of sock that had several holes in them.

When I commented on his nails, he immediately shut me down. I only worked for Podiatrists for 11 years, so of course I do not know anything about nail care.

Here in Canada we have both Podiatrists and Foot Care nurses. At the cottage where up until this year Dad spent the summer, I knew there was a Foot Care nurse working out of the medical centre. I called her up and prepaid for an appointment for when Dad would be over there. Dad was willing to have her take care of his toes because the appointment was paid for.

Does the care home have a regular Podiatrist that takes care of the residents' feet? If yes, ask that your Mum be added to the list. Don't tell Mum that you did it, if she asks, you about it, tell her it is one of the services included in her rent.

Also, it is important that her feet are looked after by a trained professional, a Podiatrist or a Foot Care Nurse.

Dad now pays for his own appointment with the Foot Care Nurse. Only once a year, but he claims he cuts his nails at other times.
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Reply to Tothill
Countrymouse Oct 3, 2020
Once a year - whether they need cutting or not..?! I'm glad you had that nurse on the scene :)
The nursing facility should have had this done. I would call administration and find out how this was overlooked. She's in pain from the lack of attention to that particular care. This might be considered elderly abuse on the part of the home. Hopefully they will jump on the chance to make it right.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Lyecats

I can't believe they don't have a podiatrist that works with the place she is. My dad was in a unit and they had a podiatrist that he would see there. We used to take him to the podiatrist ourselves and did start doing so again as they charged us at the place he was staying which shouldn't have happened. I would also talk to her doctor and see if she does resist if the doctor has any ideas of how to make this easier for her to have this done. She absolutely needs a podiatrist to do this since it has gotten so bad. I would be furious and ask why she was never taken care of for nail care. She had to be getting baths or showers so someone had to see this happening with her toenails. I would want to know who is responsible for this not being taken care of. This should never happen to anyone.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to broncomeemaw

Facilities did limit who came into them during Covid but I am surprised that the facility did not notice her feet and get her scheduled. She may have refused and they cannot force her but they should have let you know. Double check to see if there is in fact a podiatrist who comes there and get her on the list. If she is a diabetic, Medicare will pay for it. If not, she would be self pay; they probably would put it on her bill. I would stay out of it and not even comment to her; and it is best you dont do it anyway. If you think it will work, tell her it is a new service they have added.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to dogparkmomma

The Care Home should have seen this while cleaning her up and it should have never happened.

Have her Dr prescribe whatever treatment is necessary and refer her to a Specialist immediately.
As bad as you're saying, she will most likely have to be sedated.

In grown toenails can cause horrible pain.

Have this taken care of today.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to bevthegreat

Dear "Weeble,"

Maybe your mom will be more receptive to a Podiatrist than she has been when you and your sister want to do anything. So I would leave it in a Podiatrist's hands who may be more able to talk her into it as I'm sure they've dealt with difficult patients before.

My mom is in memory care now after having nearly died of severe dehydration and COVID back in April. Her new facility as well as hospice said her toenails needed attention. Between hospice, the facility and myself we have contacted a mobile podiatrist and they scheduled the visit for the 12th. Maybe you should just get it arranged instead of telling her ahead of time where she may be more apt to say she doesn't need or want it.

If it's as bad as you say, that's not good to continue to let it go. I wish you luck!
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NobodyGetsIt

My LO had regular visits from a podiatrist prior to Covid. The visits were scheduled through her Memory Care and paid for by Medicare.

As has been mentioned, sometimes medical professionals can get a lot farther than family members.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AnnReid

Get a podiatrist in there ASAP.

My mom's feet look like a horror movie, but oddly enough, getting her toenails dealt with was the one thing she never fought us on. She fought when I tried to do it, and when Dad tried. We took her to the podiatrist, and he was simply "the NICEST man, wasn't he?"


Don't avoid trying to help your mom because of how you think she might react. She may surprise you.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MJ1929

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