What Are the Best Nail Care Tips for the Elderly?

Getting older isn’t always a walk in the park, and that includes taking care of our nails. As we age, many changes happen in our bodies – even to our fingernails! They might become weak or change color, not grow as quickly; you name it. Arthritis can also make keeping your nails neat harder than before.

In places like assisted living communities where staff lend a hand with this kind of thing, some prefer doing their own nail-care routines. If that’s you or if you’re helping an elderly loved one look after their nails at home, here are top-notch tips just for them!

Moisturizing Regularly

Growing older often means saying goodbye to our skin’s natural moisture and oils. This can leave us with dry, breakable nails. A simple fix is to moisturize your hands and nails every day.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Choose a thick hand cream, or go for good stuff like coconut or almond oil.
  2. Don’t forget about your cuticles! Work that moisturizer into them, too.
  3. Try adding some extra love with nourishing cuticle oil on the nail bed and around the edges of each nail!

Safe Trimming and Filing

Cutting your nails right helps avoid problems like infections and ingrown nails. But when you’re older, it’s a bit tricky, thanks to unsteady hands or not-so-clear eyesight.

Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Keep sharp nail tools handy – dull ones can rip at your nails.
  2. Cut straight across, then make tips round with a gentle curve.
  3. Your softened post-shower nails are easier to cut nicely.
  4. Smooth those edges out using an easy-going fine-grit file, and always go in one direction so they won’t split on you later!

Protecting the Nails

Looking after your nails is all about protection, especially as we age and our nails become a little more fragile. Here’s how to keep them safe:

  • Do you have housework or gardening on the schedule? Pop some gloves on.
  • Are you going for nail polish? Use a base coat that hardens and strengthens first.
  • Avoid using those pretty nails of yours as tools.
  • Say yes to acetone-free nail polish removers! They won’t dry out your nails like others can.

Regular Health Checks

Keeping tabs on your nails’ health is a must. It’s not just about looking good. Our nails can actually tell us something about our overall well-being.

Keep these in mind:

  • Watch out for any funky fungus. Older folks might find themselves dealing with discolored, thick, or fragile toenails.
  • Have you noticed a yellowish tinge? This could be flagging bigger issues like diabetes or liver problems!
  • Be wary of ingrown nasties, too, particularly on toes. They’re painful and may lead to some nasty infections if ignored.


To wrap things up, looking after those nails in our golden years goes beyond only the looks. It’s all about feeling good and staying healthy overall. Whether you’re the one rocking that silver hair or caring for someone who does, these nail care tips can help keep everyone’s nails tip-top!