Cutting your own toenails improves your life

Cutting your own toenails improves your life

There is some great research by the Institute of Ageing at Newcastle University (www.ncl.ac.uk/ageing/) showing that our ability to live fully independently is reliant on us being able to undertake a variety of ‘activities of daily living’. What they have observed is that usually it is the ability to cut our own toenails that is the first activity for which help might be needed.

Getting the nail clippers out as part of a regular health visit seems a good idea however this is addressing the symptom rather than the cause – a decline in physical abilities. If someone is no longer physically able to cut their toe nails, it is likely to be not long before shopping, or walking a few hundred yards, becomes difficult.. The act of kindness with their toenails is allowing the first domino to start a cascade down the slope of decline.

The latest thinking is that ‘re-abling’ is the best in the long term – finding the right exercises to give enough strength, balance and flexibility to enable people to cut their own toenails – and will take them to the top of the slope adding to the quality of life. Some stamina exercises would help keep them be able to do other things too.

One easy way of finding suitable exercises is to look at NHS Choices suggested exercises at www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Exercises-for-older-people.aspx. Moving on from the basic exercises there are even video classes to help to build all round fitness for all levels of ability at www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/Pages/welcome-to-nhs-fitness-studio.aspx and you don’t even need to leave home.

As always, make sure you stay hydrated (drink water) and we suggest you make sure you have a good method of getting help if you need it – you can guess which we recommend.

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