Elder Care: All She Needed Was a Manicure

While I was watching Taryn this past Tuesday, I needed to stop at mom’s and make a change in her medicine dispenser.  She had been dizzy lately and her blood pressure was low at her recent physical therapy appointment.  After reviewing her medication list and consulting with her primary care physician, we decided she should try taking only half of one pill in the morning instead of the whole pill.

Now I ask you: do YOU have a pill slicer at your house?  Or do you try to cut them with a knife, razor blade, or ultimately just bite them in half?  My own pills I could bite in half, but it didn’t sound like fun biting several of mom’s blood pressure pills and doling them out in the dispenser with the slobber on them!  Ewwwww

After getting a handy little $5 pill slicer, I headed over to take care of business.  At the same time, I grabbed my basket of gel nail polish, UV light, and some emery boards.  Well between the great grandbaby and the manicure, GiGi was in seventh heaven!

“Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine, says studies show that touch reduces pain, especially following strokes, and lowers blood pressure. A study she conducted evaluating the effectiveness of massage found significant decreases in Parkinson’s tremors. Massage therapy also decreased pacing, wandering, and combative behavior, symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Field says that many elderly patients are deprived of touch, having lost spouses, and “a lot of illnesses of the elderly may relate to their being touch deprived,” she says,” (, Caring.com Contributor, Feb 2018).

The manicure ensured that I held her hands, I pampered her just a little, and she felt good about herself when I left.  The gel nail ‘kit’ I purchased through Amazon for around $85 with light, polish, top and base coat, gel soak-off pads, and files/buffers.  I have now done mom’s nails, her friend’s, my sister’s, and my own, several times.  The money was well worth the joy and pleasure I see on mom’s face.

If you choose to go this route, make sure to read all instructions, follow all warnings about using the light, and be careful in explaining that you will need to help mom remove the old polish.  Let me know if you plan your own “girls night” with multi-generational stories and memories!  Regular polish and hand massages are every bit as good – remember the objective is spending time, touching, and feeling good about yourself when you’re done!

For more information, or to learn more about Julie Halpert, follow Caring.com, and her article The Power of Touch in Elder Caregiving from Feb 06, 2018.

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