Seniors, Germs, and Fingernails

Fingernails carry some interesting objects under them. I dare not name what I have found over the years as a nurse (in the hospital) and a caregiver. Let me just start by saying, you would NOT want to have any of it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Fingernails can be so when painted and groomed, but you must pay attention to them.

One of the favorite moments shared with mommy was our home-grown nail shop, filled with all types of items to make your fingernails look amazing. I still have the many bottles of nail polish and every now and again, I will paint my nails while thinking of mommy. Sometimes I smile. Sometimes I cry.

My mother enjoyed getting her natural nail polished. We would match the nail polish coloring with outfits picked out to wear to the senior center each week. Before polishing her nails, I would always assessment her fingers and look under her nails. The best efforts by seniors to ensure hands and fingernails are clean after washing them, it is possible to overlook the smallest of debris, especially under the fingernails.

As a nurse and now Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, looking before you leap is important. Do you ever wonder what is hiding under your fingernails? Bathroom hygiene is something caregivers must pay attention with especially when seniors are still managing your bathroom habits. If the care recipient is helping in the kitchen handling foods and meats that are raw, particles can get under fingernails. A short note about artificial nail, with seniors, I would consider being careful. They carry germs that you do not want to know about. Another surprising note, men carry more germs under their fingernails than women. Why do you think that is? Men do not pay attention to their fingernails like women. Bottom line…wash them hands and pay attention to under the fingernail germs. You can use a soft fingernail brush to clean fingernails. They are there and can cause ill health because of the bacteria that can grow unaware.

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