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Caring for Elderly Parent with Diabetes – Looking after their feet

If you care for an elderly parent, relative or friend who suffers from Diabetes, it’s very important that you look after your / their feet and toes. The reason for this is because Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the feet, which could cause numbness, tingling and a loss of feeling.  It could also mean that any foot injuries do not heal well, and a person may not notice if their feet are injured or sore.

If you are caring for an elderly relative who has diabetes, here are a few handy tips you may find useful.

  • Keep feet and toes clean and free from infection
  • Check feet regularly – every day
  • Visit a private or NHS Podiatrist at least once a year. Please note: Ask your GP for a referral as you should be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have a long-term condition such as Diabetes
  • Make sure shoes fit well and don’t squeeze or rub. Please note: Ill-fitting or badly fitting shoes can cause nail problems, corns, ulcers and calluses


  • Do not walk without shoes of some sort – never barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays – this will help to avoid cuts

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  • Try to avoid sitting with legs crossed so blood circulation is not constricted
  • Cut or file toenails regularly
  • Get corns or hard skin treated by a Podiatrist

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  • Stop smoking – Smoking impairs the blood circulation, particularly in people with Diabetes. It can seriously worsen foot and leg problems

If you’d like any more help or advice regarding caring for elderly parents or relatives, please contact Age Space Sussex at [email protected] or call 01273 608455.

Do you have experience of helping elderly relatives or friends cope with Diabetes or other ailments? Share your experience or see others’ advice in our Age Space Forum at

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