Kelley Schwietz Helps Seniors Put Their Best Feet Forward

We spend a lot of time on our feet throughout the course of our lives. Whether walking or running, our feet carry us through life, but it is all too easy to take them for granted. Proper foot care is always essential, and it can become more difficult as we age. Many seniors face a range of podiatric problems, which can be worsened by the other aches and pains of getting older. Most places don’t specialize exclusively in senior foot care, but St. Croix Valley area residents are in luck, because Kelley Schwietz is one of the few who does. She loves her job, and it certainly shows, as her clients love her back.

From thickened nails to thinning skin, aging can create many issues for the hands and feet. After more than 24 years in the business, however, Schwietz has pretty much seen it all. A licensed manicurist, she is the friendly face behind the aptly named Hand and Foot Spa, which is run out of Boutwells Landing, a retirement and assisted-living community in Oak Park Heights,Minn. Schwietz worked in various salons serving the general public before moving her own business to Boutwells, where she now specializes in hand and foot care for adults ages 55 and older.

“It’s so rewarding working for seniors, and I really enjoy making people happy by providing a service that they need,” she says of her job. “For my clients, my services are a hygienic necessity, but I try to make them feel like a luxury.”

Schwietz says dehydrated skin and ingrown nails are the primary problems her clients face, but being unable to reach the feet at all makes regular foot care a struggle, if not an impossibility. “Across the board I hear, ‘I have poor eyesight,’ or ‘I have limited flexibility—I can’t bend or twist. I don’t have the strength in my hands to hold the clippers,’” she says.

Heather Ruggero searched far and wide for someone to help her mother, Betty, with her feet. “It is really difficult to find geriatric care for the hands and feet, especially for a pedicure,” Ruggero says. “I would talk to every well-meaning person, but they would always just send me to somebody else.” Few salons are geared toward elderly clients, and as Betty is on a blood thinner, even a small accidental nick from the nail clippers could result in a big problem. They tried home health aides and even went to a podiatrist, but long insurance billing cycles prevented them from making regular appointments. Then Betty started attending Circle of Friends, a day program at Boutwells, and discovered the Hand and Foot Spa. Ruggero says Schwietz’s skill, knowledge and personal care made her precisely the right fit.
“She sat there with my mother and would say, ‘Oh, that right there, that hurts, doesn’t it?’ She has such an amazing ability to know an older person’s struggles and what they’re going through,” Ruggero says. “She really makes sure that the person leaves comfortable, and that’s what makes her so different.”

Schwietz says that her services aren’t any special secret—she just follows the golden rule: “I give my clients a service based on how I would want it done to me. It’s not your typical toenail cutting. It’s full of TLC,” she says. “Your feet are going to get washed and they’re going to get cleaned out, and I’m going to end-file. I do to them what, if they were my feet, I would want done on mine.”  

You don’t have to be a Boutwells resident or a senior to see Kelly Schwietz—she’s open to everyone. By appointment only. Call her directly at 651.353.9142 to schedule.