Aging in the Gorge May 5th 2021

Who wants to talk about feet? That is the part of my body I don’t want anyone to see! (Actually, there are many other parts of my body I want to hide, but my feet rank near the top.) But taking care of your feet is important. According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, impairment of the lower extremities is a leading cause of activity limitation in older people.

The human foot has been called the “mirror of health” because you can find signs of diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory disease which are more common in older adults. If you find in your feet dry skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations, feelings of cold, numbness, and discoloration you should talk to your primary care provider. Pain in your feet is never “normal” and is often easily treatable.

To avoid foot problems, clean and inspect your feet daily. Are there unusual changes in color, cuts or strange bruises, nail distortions, and odd bumps? Also, wash your lower limbs with warm water and soap, then pat them dry. If you struggle with dry skin as I do, apply moisturizer except between the toes. Keep your nails clipped straight across and not too long.

Make sure your shoes fit correctly. Footwear that is too narrow, too tight, or not supportive enough can contribute to lower limb pain. You need shoes that don’t rub against your skin or squeeze your toes. Choose models that have wide toe boxes, arch support, and sufficient cushioning.

Our feet are the tires of our body and although the tread is worn, we need to care for them so we can maintain our mobility and keep moving for many more miles.

Let me get on my creaky soapbox one last time about vaccines. If we’re going to stop the pandemic and get back to “the way it was”, it’s going to depend on us. Only we can stop the pandemic – not the government. You just can’t pass a law to keep the virus out.

So, we should encourage, not tell, our friends to get vaccinated. According to the vast majority of the medical community, the vaccines are safe – but not 100% safe. As older adults, we know there are no vaccines or medications that are 100% safe. I take a blood thinner that reduces the chance of a stroke but increases the chance of internal bleeding and I have chosen to take it because the benefits outweigh the risks.

Before I step off my soapbox, I want to share one story. When I was ten, I remember being told if you don’t know whether something is right or wrong, ask yourself what if everyone did it. Lying. What if everyone lied? Stealing. What if everyone stole? So, what about the vaccine? What would happen if everyone decided not to get vaccinated? Granted, this test of right and wrong may be too simplistic, but I believe it holds some truth. And let me tell you, it worked for a 10-year-old! 

 “Through the Eyes of an Elder” shares informative, touching, and inspiring stories from “elders” in our communities. This month Paul Woolery shares what he has learned from poetry including a wonderful collage of his poems. I think you’ll find something that speaks to you.

The cigarette brand with the tagline “You’ve come a long way, baby” seen in the last cigarette ad on television was Virginia Slims. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Susan Ellis, Chuck Rice, Tina Castanares, Katherine Schlick Noe, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Patty Burnet, Cindy Winfield, Gene Uczen, Linda Frizzell, Pat Evenson-Brady, Rhonda Spies, Rose Schulz, and Marlene and Keith Clymer this week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket.

In 1961 Walt Disney produced the comedy film The Absent-Minded Professor (who was one of my role models!) starring Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the substance Professor Brainard discovered? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of a flying Model T.

Well, it has been another week enjoying the great outdoors. Until we meet again, as our parents told us before crossing the street, “Stop, look and listen”.

“I’ve always had a duck personality. Calm above water, feet going crazy below.” K. Flay – musician

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