If family caregivers or homecare assistants notice dark stripes along the nails, however, it could be a symptom of melanoma. The senior should be taken to the doctor to get an official diagnosis.
5. Slow Growth Rate
The growth rate for fingernails and toenails slows considerably with age.
The average adult’s fingernails grow about 3 mm per month, while a child’s nails grow faster, a senior’s nails grow slower.
Fingernails grow faster than toenails, about four times faster. This means if something happens to an elderly person’s nail, such as a tear or rip, it can take a long time to repair itself.
6. Ridged Nails
Smooth nails are commonplace, but family caregivers should not be alarmed if they notice a series of ridges on their elderly loved one’s nails. These ridges usually run the length of the nail and split off at the nail tips.
7. Brittle Fingernails
While toenails tend to get thicker and discolored, fingernails usually grow thinner and more fragile.
Moisturizer can help relieve brittleness and dry skin, so family caregivers and homecare aides should help the senior apply it daily.
It’s easy for the elderly to tear their fingernails so family caregivers need to be careful when filing or clipping.
For extremely thin nails, family caregivers should think about applying a nail thickening polish to lend strength.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services
Family caregivers may not know that any sudden or unusual changes in the appearance of fingernails or toenails may be a sign of hidden health problems. Many diseases and illnesses can manifest with signs that appear in the nails.
It’s important for an elderly loved one with unusual nail conditions to see a doctor or dermatologist if there is any worry about the changing shape or color of the nails. With consistent care and proactive approach to checkups, seniors can enjoy excellent nail health.