Caregiving Tips for Aging Hands:
Our hands are our most import tools to manage daily life’s chores. We often only realize that then when they don’t function as they should.
Hand function decreases with age, both for men and for women. Joints, muscles, tendons, bones, skin and fingernails – but also blood circulation and nerve receptors are deteriorating with the years.
This is often accompanied by pathological conditions like rheumatic- or osteo-arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, tremors, osteoporosis etc. many of them are painful.
When caring for older adults you should consider that their hands:
- Blood circulation is getting worse
- They feel cold more easily
- Joints are stiffening
- Range of movement is becoming limited
- Muscle strength is getting less
- It becomes harder to operate everyday tools and mechanisms
- At the same time less muscle mass is protecting the joints and bones
- Tactile sense is weakening
- Sometimes it is difficult to sense surfaces properly, in worse cases even to feel whether a surface is too hot or cold to touch
- The eye to hand coordination is getting limited
- Touch screens are getting difficult to operate
- Swollen Joints can be very painful
- Both when trying to hold something but also at nighttime when the hands are resting
- Skin and Fingernails are getting thinner and easily dry out
- They are more susceptible to bruises, scratches and injuries – in addition those also take longer time to heal
- Tremors may limit grip accuracy
- Can become more sensitive to environmental influences
- Stiff elbows and shoulder joints limit the reach even further
- Tendons may shorten and limit the flexion of muscles, making it difficult to straighten the fingers
- Fingernails are growing at slower rate
- are getting more brittle and more susceptible to fungus infections
- stiff hands make nailcare more difficult
Assure your elder loved ones can retain a high level of independence – so they can manage activities of daily living.
Aging hands should be kept well protected. Have a regular routine for hand exercises. Look for suitable aids, arthritis hacks and tools for aging hands or think of other ways to assure a good and safe grip.