Don’t Worry, Be Happy – The Search for Happiness

Photo courtesy of Paul.

“Happy, happy, happy”, was a phrase our oldest son would often use when he was very young. It has stuck with our family through the years. You can still hear the phrase pop up from someone in the family. Children seem to be full of happiness and cheer. Who does not smile while watching young children at play?

So, what makes you happy? How do you know you are happy? Are there certain things that happen to tell us we are happy? Many of us think ‘if I just get to retire from my job I will be happy’ or ‘if I win the lottery then surely I would be happy.’ ‘Maybe this very expensive corvette will do the trick to give me happiness.’ These are just a few situational happenings to show how we search for happiness.

“He/she is having a midlife crisis,” is often said of people who make large life choices or make large purchases in an effort to increase the excitement and happiness of their lives. How many of us get something we have longed for only to find it did not give us lasting happiness? For many of us events or new things can provide moments of happiness and soon we find these moments do not last and our thought process shifts to the less than positive. We have to look for the next big thing to give us that lift again. I have often heard “it’s the journey not the destination that brings interest and happiness.” Studies show being happy is a conscious decision to look at life positively and enjoy the moment.

Therefore, you may ask, ”is there a secret formula for finding happiness?” As I looked for information on this topic, I came across a number of ideas on how to make your life happier.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for increasing our happiness:

  • There are people who are naturally joyful and jovial. These folks keep everyone around them smiling. It is good to surround yourself with some friends like this.
  • Enjoy the simple pleasures such as watching a beautiful sunset or admiring a rainbow. Maybe a simple cup of coffee with a friend is reason to be happy.
  • Do the things you love and have purpose for you. Doing something that makes a difference in someone else’s life can bring pure joy to yours.
  • Practice gratitude and you will be surprised how good you feel. My mother was insistent my sister and I wrote thank you notes whenever we got a gift from anyone. To this day, I enjoy writing a thank you note to people who have touched my life in some special way. The act of showing gratitude not only lifts the sender’s spirits but also lifts the receiver’s spirit. I have kept many thank you cards that came my way relishing in the thoughtfulness.

Happiness can be difficult to maintain. It is easy to get into negative thinking. Scientists say there is a neurological reason for the strong emotions such as happiness and sadness. When the part of the brain that plays a key role in emotions becomes stimulated it remains that way for a long time and can cause the brain to imprint a memory. The more emotional the situation, the stronger the memory will be.

This emotional memory is the reason the Music and Memory program at Sierra View Homes Retirement Community works so well. Music creates a strong emotion and these emotions have memories tied to them. We get the specific music that a resident had an emotional tie to when they were much younger. Some studies say the strongest musical memory time are around 8 years old through the teenage years. We work hard to put together their most favorite songs and artists. Watching residents, who are affected with dementia, light up as they listen to music of their youth is a wonderful way to bring out their happiness memories.

It does not take a lot of money, fame or social position to be a happy person. Indeed, a person with minimal material goods or some of the toughest struggles in life seems to be happier because they appreciate and are thankful for even the smallest blessings. It takes dedication to be aware of the little pleasures in life. It takes being grateful and to have a sense of purpose. Spend time with a friend, write a thank you note, give someone a word of encouragement and see how it makes you feel. You might find you are happy.

Some Like it Hot!

The Central Valley of California is in an extremely dangerous heat wave. We are used to summers days where the temperature cools down at night. Lately, however, there has been very little cooling at night. Seniors especially are subject to ill effects of extreme hot weather. Heat exhaustion and or heat stroke become real possibilities when the temperatures soar to 90 degrees and above and there is little relief. Lack of awareness and concern for the high air conditioning bills will slow the response of some seniors in seeking relief.

Sierra View Homes is one of the cooling centers in Reedley.

Hot weather is dangerous without proper protection and preparation. Employers, according to state law, need to be aware of the heat and have plenty of fluids to drink and shade for their employees to stay free of heat related effects. All employees, especially the ones who work out doors, must know how to spot heat related issues such as dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion

Outdoor employees are not the only ones who have to watch for heat-related issues. It is important to pay attention to the senior population as this heat wave continues. People 65 and older have decreased ability to notice changes in their body temperature. They do not sweat as much as younger adults do. Sweating is an important of the body’s heat regulation mechanism. Chronic health conditions can reduce the body’s ability to respond to heat conditions. Prescription drugs can further impair one’s sense of how hot your body truly is.

Dehydration is the root of many heat-related health problems. Dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and most seriously heat stroke can cause serious health issues up to and including death. When the body’s temperature becomes unusually high, neurological issues can happen and emergency treatment must be sought. It is extremely important to drink plenty of water or juice, even if you are not thirsty. It is a good idea to limit alcoholic or caffeinated drinks as they contribute to dehydration. A good rule of thumb is to drink fluids at every meal and to sip fluids throughout the day rather than drinking a lot of fluid quickly.

If dehydration is not corrected, heat exhaustion becomes a real possibility. Early warning signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache and muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion and lead to nausea, vomiting and fainting, which can rapidly lead to a heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature, absence of sweating, confusion, seizures and coma. Heat exhaustion and especially heat stroke are extremely dangerous. If you see someone who appears to be in trouble it is important to get help for him or her a quickly as possible.

Whether or not you are older than 65 there are things you can do to avoid heat-related issues. Some suggestions are wearing light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day and limit outdoor activities to the early morning hours. Watch the heat Index. If there is a lot of moisture in the air, the body’s ability to sweat is diminished leaving you with less ability to cool down. Seek air-conditioned environments if you do not have air-conditioning in your home. Cooling centers are set up and ready for folks to come in and cool off if the temperature is over 100 degrees. Sierra View Homes is one of the cooling centers in Reedley.

Heat-related issues are real and can be serious. Everyone, especially those over age 65, need to be extra careful and pay attention for the warning signs of heat-related trouble. Take steps to keep cool by dressing in light clothes, drink plenty of fluids and monitor your indoor thermostat to keeping it no higher than 82 degrees. We live in an area that can have extremely hot temperatures; consequently, it is important to understand how you deal with the heat and have a plan to cool down.

A Frank Look at the Hot Dog

hotdog
As summer looms ever closer, we think of the American outdoor cuisine, the hot dog. Whether at a baseball game or just outside grilling, the hot dog with toppings seems delightful. I thought that maybe it is time for a closer look at the old favorite.

All of us have enjoyed a good hot dog. There are all sorts of hot dogs on the market these days. In the food committee at Sierra View Homes, we often hear we need to put hot dogs on the menu. Indeed, in a quick survey, it became apparent that hot dogs are a staple for many seniors living alone. It is so easy to pop one or two from the freezer into the microwave for an easy meal.

Hot Dog History

I wanted to know the history of the hot dog. What I found out is what we call a hot dog has been in existence for a very long time and there are several stories about its origin. One story said the frankfurter was developed in 1487. That was five years before Columbus set sail for the new world. Frankfurt, Germany, claims to have created the first Frankfurter. The people of Vienna, Austria, want to claim the birthplace of the wiener. The hot dog sold during the 1800s in the United States was probably a mixture of widespread common European sausage recipes.

 

Hot Dog Ingredients

The next step was to understand what ingredients went into a hotdog. A typical hot dog usually has highly processed low-quality meats with lots and lots of preservatives. Common ingredients include meat trimmings, usually pork or beef trimmings, but chicken and turkey are also popular, fat, and flavorings such as salt, garlic, and paprika. Sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrites are also added preservatives that cure the meat. Nitrates enhance color and increase shelf life. Hot dogs are amazingly high in fat and sodium content. One dog can have 14 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat and 400-500 milligrams of sodium. All this totals up to nearly 20 percent of the daily recommendation.

 

Are Hot Dogs Nutritious?

The all-important question is whether hot dogs are good for you. The answer is a resounding, No! They are not nutritious. Huge amounts of sodium and nitrates should make us pause before we consume that dog. We all have heard about nitrites in hotdogs. During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines, naturally present in meat, to form cancer causing compounds. These compounds have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain. Nitrites occur naturally in many vegetables, like spinach, celery, green lettuce, and root vegetables; but the vegetables appear to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. When eating food like hot dogs it is important to eat antioxidant rich food such as tomatoes or vitamin C packed orange juice to counter the risk.

There are healthier hot dogs on the market these days. Hot dog producers are now making dogs processed without nitrites. Nitrite free hot dogs taste the same as the nitrite dogs but the color is browner instead of red. Supermarkets are now stocking Nitrate/nitrite free or uncured hot dogs. These dogs rely on natural sources of nitrate such as celery juice, extract or powder. There are also hot dogs made with organic turkey or chicken. It is important to read the package carefully because there still could be high sodium, saturated fat content.

 

Hot Dog Choking Risk

In our campus food committee meeting, we also needed to discuss the possibility of people choking on hot dogs. In the 65 and older population, chewing and swallowing may be lessened due to illness or other health issues so the possibility of choking is a real issue.

Choking is the third leading cause of death for all ages. Common culprits are nuts, popcorn, grapes, carrots and, yes, hot dogs. Hot dogs are dense and have small diameters that fit easily into the windpipe creating a plug that blocks airflow. Good advice is to chew carefully and not swallow in big gulps and have something to drink on hand so you can swallow and move things along.

Alas, we had all better think twice before we reach for that not so healthy, not so safe frank. Frankly, you would be better to skip it. In my report to the food committee, it became apparent hot dogs do not belong on the menu. We will enjoy other healthier summer food!

When is it Time to Consider Assisted Living?

Assisted Living MealWhen is it time to consider assisted living?

The time to start looking for an assisted living facility is when you notice it is no longer easy for your loved one to function all by themselves.

  • Watch the medications: Are they taking medicines at the appropriate times? Do you or another family member feel a need to remind your parent to take their medicine? Are they experiencing medical problems that may be due to not taking medications? Have they recently lost the help of a spouse or other person who was prompting them to take medications?
  • Are they keeping up their home? Is their housekeeping ability staying the same? How does the lawn look? Are dishes piling up? Are bathrooms sanitary?
  • Is your loved one skipping meals? Have you noticed significant weight loss? When you go to their home, is there healthy food in the cupboard?
  • Normal functioning: Is your loved one leaving things undone that they used to get done no matter what? Are bills getting paid? Does your loved one receive calls from collectors?

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is there to help the senior stay independent for as long as possible. The idea is to help the resident maintain health and ability by taking care of some of the everyday housekeeping chores such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, and medication maintenance, yet still allow the resident the freedom to come and go as they please, enjoy and entertain family and friends, be social, and enjoy various activities offered.

Make sure to look at several facilities to be able to choose the one that most fits your parent’s needs. Not all assisted living facilities are alike, so here are some factors to consider as you help choose your parent’s new home. 

Get Your Tickets to Hear High Sierra Jazz Band!

highsierrajazzbandCome join us on June 3, 2017 for a night of kickin’ jazz, a delicious meal, and fellowship with friends!

Sierra View Homes Retirement Community’s Annual Auxiliary Spring Benefit Dinner and Auction will feature a performance by three members of the famous High Sierra Jazz Band! 

Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017

Time: Appetizers – 5:30 p.m.
Dinner in the Kings Canyon Room – 6:30 p.m.

Donation Amount: $60 per plate. (Full table discounts are available.)

Tickets are available from the Sierra View Homes office or by calling (559) 638-9226 before June 2.

Your donation will support special projects for the residents of Sierra View Homes!

 

Does Burned Toast Cause Cancer? Maybe.

burned_toast

Burn That Toast?

Practically every week our fire alarm goes off because of someone burning their toast. Sierra View Homes Retirement’s independent senior apartments are equipped with super sensitive smoke alarms. So we know there are some individuals that like that dark, tasty bread! Most of us have burnt toast or other foods at one time or another. Indeed, some like to eat foods that are nearly charred. But, did you know that burning your toast may increase your health risk? Researchers are looking at people who eat a lot of burned toast to see if they have increased cancer risk.

We have been warned, for years, about burning certain foods because when they are cooked at a high temperature they form compounds that can cause cancer. Starchy foods, especially potatoes, can produce high levels of the compound acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures for too long. Laboratory mice studies have shown high levels of acrylamide created a higher risk of cancer.

Acrylamide is what makes bread and potatoes turn a golden color when they are fried, baked, toasted or roasted. Cooking food until it turns yellow restricts the formation of acrylamide. The problem with this is that cooking at lower temperature may cause bad bacteria to thrive and thus there is an increased risk of food poisoning. Researchers are encouraging people to reduce the risk by following a normal healthy diet and generally limiting the foods that are major sources of acrylamide.

The Food Standards Agency of the UK has launched a campaign to warn about cancer risk of eating burnt toast, over-roasted potatoes and other starchy food cooked at high temperatures even though the risk of caner has not been proven in humans.

There has been no study of people who eat burnt toast to see if they have higher cancer rates. But there are chemicals in burnt toast that have been liked with cancers in both animals and humans. Burnt toast contains less acrylamide than potato chips and fries but it still has enough acrylamide to be of concern because we are likely to eat bread more often.

Since the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization are calling for a reduction of acrylamide levels in food, the food industry is exploring ways to cook foods using lower temperatures and using enzymes to reduce acrylamide levels. They are working hard to do this without losing desirability and taste. Many people I’ve talked to here at Sierra View want that golden brown for the taste– “Give me that warm dark toasted bread with butter and jam!”

Seniors love their toast. We suggest caution when dealing with toast. Toast your bread to the lowest level acceptable to you, or try toasting dark bread instead of white bread. You can decrease the amount of acrylamide you take in if you cut off the crust. If for some reason you do burn the toast, throw it away. Don’t try to salvage it even though it might look tempting or feel wasteful.

Glide into 2017

rockingchair_slider

In this high tech world with all the gadgets that promise to make your life better, we are now seeing that a simple rocking chair can improve your health and your overall sense of well-being. Before you conjure up some antiquated image of an old person in a rocking chair, you need to see the evidence. Studies are being conducted by a number of leading colleges on the possible benefits of spending time rocking in a rocking chair.

Many of us have spent time rocking or gliding enjoying the soothing relaxing movement. Researchers are showing that rocking chairs help to reduce pain. The spinal cord can work in only one direction. So, when the brain is sending impulses down to the legs to push the rocker the pain receptors are blocked. President John F Kennedy got relief from his chronic back pain by spending time in a rocking chair.

Rocking chairs have been shown to improve the emotional health of those suffering from depression, anxiety and/or dementia. Researchers found by simply rocking back and forth in a rocking chair for at least an hour a day improves the psychological and emotional well being of the person rocking. No study reports why this works, but the results show the more rocking you do the better the results.

A team in New York State Department of Health did a rocking chair study of 25 nursing home residents who were diagnosed with dementia. After six (6) weeks of monitoring the residents, rocking for at least an hour a day, the team found the residents were emotionally calmer. Anxiety, tension and depression were decreased and these residents required less pain medication.

A surprising benefit was the residents had better balance after rocking. The light exercise that happens while rocking burns calories, improves knee extension, and strengthens calf muscles giving residents better ability to stand up straight.

Recently, with a memorial monetary gift from the Wendell Rempel family, Sierra View Homes purchased six (6) new rocking chairs for Marden’s Place, our assisted living memory care unit. The chairs are unique in that when you sit down in them the chair stays firmly in place. When you lean back the rocking mechanism releases and the chair starts moving. This initial engagement is a great benefit to the residents who could be unaware of how to make a rocking chair move. The residents start to rock and often will keep the chair moving. When it is time to stand up the rocking mechanism disengages as the person leans forward to stand. Once again the chair is solid with no motion.

The rocking chairs are used regularly and are frequently requested by the residents. Rarely do I see a chair-sitting idol. The staff in Marden’s Place tells me the chairs have made a difference in how they care for the residents. “The residents are more calm and they seem happier,” a staff member recently told me. Another staff member said her “residents seek out the chairs and are disappointed if they are all in use.”

Rocking brings a safe activity to people who live a sedentary lifestyle. It does not make up for strength–training such as lifting weights but it has value in increasing strength, decreasing pain and creating a sense of well-being in a person who rocks regularly. So, my advice is to dust off those old rockers and place them in a place of prominence and glide or rock on through 2017.

Parkinson’s

“You have Parkinson’s” a friend of mine heard when she went to a Neurologist to find out why her hand would not stop shaking. She now had an explanation for the shaking hand that she could not stop no matter how hard she tried. “I have the same disease as actor Michael J. Fox and boxer Muhammad Ali,” she reported. “It is time to understand more about Parkinson’s disease? How did I get this disease? What can I do to get rid of it? “ She was full of questions.

Parkinson’s disease affects the brain. It affects certain nerve cells called neurons and gradually breaks them down so they don’t work. When these neurons are healthy they produce a chemical messenger substance called dopamine. Dopamine is necessary for normal brain activity. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity. This abnormal brain activity produces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Why certain people get the disease and others do not is a big mystery. Scientists say there are several factors that could play a role. One factor could be your genes, but research is quick to point out a genetic link is rare. The genetic link becomes a factor if you have immediate family members who have Parkinson’s disease. Another risk factor to consider is exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors such as pesticides, insecticides and more but again, research in inconclusive as to which environmental factor might be the trigger. Researchers continue to look for what triggers the neurons to decline in order to find a cure.

Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms vary from person to person. Early signs can be slight enough to go unnoticed for years. Early warning signs can be the loss of the sense of smell or your handwriting becomes shaky. As the disease progresses, typically the physical symptoms start on one side of the body. There could be tremors or shaking often in the hand or fingers. The tremor continues even when your hand is resting. Rigidity in the leg muscles can create a difference in your ability to walk. Your steps may become shorter and you may have more difficult picking up your feet. Parkinson’s disease can change the way you speak, affect your posture and disrupt your ability to do personal care. Most people with Parkinson’s continue to lead effective lives. It is only when it becomes acutely pronounced that it can become debilitating

Since Parkinson’s disease affects the brain it could also affect thinking, sleep, swallowing and more. Depression could be a big challenge. It is important you have a support group and talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and be proactive about your symptoms. Retirement Communities such as Sierra View Homes are good places to find support groups.

As of now there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease but there are things you can do to help yourself. One way to enhance daily quality of life and even build impressive power, strength, and flexibility is to train like a boxer. Rock Steady is a popular boxing class just for people with Parkinson’s disease. The training exercises are geared to the symptoms that are often present. Training for boxing has shown to give Parkinson’s sufferers ability to have quality of life. Swimming or water aerobics is also a great exercise to keep fighting against Parkinson’s symptoms. The sweeping movements help with strength and balance. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to plan an exercise program. It is important that people with Parkinson’s disease keep exercising and moving to maintain strength, balance and control. It is not only a benefit in reduced symptoms but exercise also helps stave off depression.

There have been good results with deep brain stimulation where a probe is placed in the brain and is connected to a generator implanted in the chest. The probe sends electrical pulses to the brain and reduces Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Some people have great results in symptom reduction.

Medications for Parkinson’s disease have improved over the past decade. Carbidopa-levodopa is the most effective mediation according to Mayo Clinic research. As with all medications there are risks and side effects. It is important to work closely with your doctor to find the right medicine and dosage that gives you the best outcome.

Researchers all over the world are working on finding a cure. Some are looking for what causes a person to get Parkinson’s disease; some are looking at specific proteins in the brain that could be the trigger of neuron depletion.; another research program is looking at a specific artery in the brain that may hold the answers. Maybe we will see a cure soon.

In the meantime, if you have heard the words “you have Parkinson’s disease”, take heart. Work with your doctor to have the best course of action to maintain the highest quality of life, don’t stop moving and find a support group to have a community that understands what you are experiencing. There are many people who are on the same road and supporting each other gives encouragement to be the best you can be.

Food: Seniors Want Fresh, Organic, and Made-to-Order in a Fine Dining Atmosphere

healthyfood

Photo courtesy of notyourstandard.com.

Eating organic foods, more fresh produce and less processed food seems to be the current trend. Seniors are starting to rally to that table of fresh, homemade food, even after a lifetime of poor eating habits. People who are coming to live on retirement community campuses are demanding food choices that promote a heart healthy diet. It is important for food service to meet the needs and the wants of the people who live in the community.

Today’s social norms have pushed meal times to be fast paced, perhaps an inconvenience. Mealtime is a social time for seniors. It is a time when residents enjoy visiting with family and friends. The wait time and coffee after is spent visiting listening to hear the tales of the day. Quality of life is most visible at meal time. Retirement Communities’ food service keep asking the question: Is the food not only presented in an appetizing and appealing manner, but is it true to the needs and desires of the resident?

Many years ago when I started working in long-term care much of the food served was processed. There never was any fresh fruit or fresh salads. The vegetables were always cooked till they were soggy and the amount of salt in all the food was staggering. Every Resident Council and Care Plan meeting had food complaints and concerns. Dietary staff was simply charged with getting three meals a day out to the residents. There was the main dish, which was served to everyone. If someone said “I don’t like that,” the server would go back to the kitchen for the alternate most likely a sandwich, and that was the end of choices. Standalone nursing homes were especially prone to a dull plate. As retirement communities and assisted living communities started paying more attention, nursing facilities followed. Now Medicare pushes the care of residents in Skilled Nursing to a more resident-centered care and food service also needed to change. Food choices are important. Having healthy choices for residents has become a priority. New people moving onto the retirement community campus have become more vocal about having healthy food choices. Food committees have sprung up to help dietary services understand what is desired for the food choices.

Of course, expectations for improved food services and experiences present senior living communities with a variety of challenges. Residents may have religious; cultural or ethnic food needs or preferences. Food allergies have become more common. Making sure people get the right diet therapeutically and by preference takes a vigilant staff keenly aware that each person needs to be served the right foods. Also, the multitude of plates have to arrive at the table hot, tasty and appealing, all within the one hour of the mealtime window.

Sierra View Homes is working toward increasing healthy food choices for the people who dine here. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes are still served on occasion but it is more likely you will see a fish choice on the menu. Actually I can’t knock the Sierra View Minerva Meatloaf. It is many resident’s favorite dish which is a favorite of many residents. A salad bar gives a choice of fresh greens and fruit. Sierra View has a garden planted on campus for the community to harvest for their own meal planning.

Giving choices of healthy food for today’s seniors is of great importance to the quality of life at Sierra View and other retirement communities. Having good food choices goes a long way in the satisfaction of the community residents who are working hard to have a long and healthy life. So, like our residents, I take the fresh, organic made to order by our chef in our fine dining room. As the Italians’ say “Bon Appetite” the German’s say ”Mahlzeit”.

Never Take Your Feet for Granted

baby-feet-of-a-newbornFeet. They carry you from here to there every day. Typically, we don’t give much thought to our feet until we experience pain.

Foot problems tend to be common in older people for several reasons:

  • As we age the bottom of the foot loses its cushioning making the foot more susceptible to bruising
  • Older skin can become dry and brittle, causing open areas, especially around the toes
  • Joints can become inflamed by poor circulation
  • Diabetes and can keep a foot wound from healing properly.

One way to avoid foot pain is to wear comfortable shoes that fit. Avoid tight or high-heeled shoes that put undue pressure on certain areas of the foot. Constant rubbing and pinching from shoes that don’t fit properly can cause corns, calluses and bunions. Feet change in size and width as we age, so it is a good idea to get fitted every time you buy new shoes.

Another way to avoid foot pain is to keep the blood supply flowing to your feet. Walking, stretching, or doing some type of exercise improves circulation providing benefits to more than just your feet. Avoid sitting too long especially if you like to cross your legs. Avoid tight socks, which can cut circulation causing pain or slow wound healing.

When your feet hurt it is important to know the problem to get the right treatment. Talk to your doctor if you are having foot pain to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for your pain.

The following foot issues affect many of us as we age:

Plantar Fasciitis

I have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis for the past few months. I know firsthand how difficult everyday tasks are when foot pain is intense. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. The pain is usually more intense in the morning as I get out of bed. I also find the pain is quite intense after I have been sitting a while. To heal Plantar Fasciitis, you may need to rest your foot, and use arch supports and add extra cushioning to your shoes. Patience is important because the foot pain can return if you try to do too much too soon.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is another challenge for seniors. You don’t have to be an athlete to develop this fungal infection. Warm, dark, moist areas, like a foot inside a shoe is a perfect environment for this fungus to grow. Symptoms of athlete’s foot are redness, blisters, peeling and itching. Changing shoes every oth
er day to allow the shoes to dry out, use cotton socks and after a shower or bath dry your feet especially between the toes. Wearing sandals allows the feet to breathe.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses can be very painful. They can certainly limit your activity. The best way to avoid corns and/or calluses is to wear properly fitting shoes. There are numerous over the counter remedies for this issue, but there is a possibility you could cause more damage and have further pain. A podiatrist can help you deal with corns and/or calluses especially if you are diabetic or have poor circulation.

Hammertoes

Hammertoes happen when the shoe is not wide enough at the toe and the knuckle swells pulling the toe back. This can cause a balance problem for seniors that could result in a fall. The best way to prevent a hammertoe is to wear properly fitting shoes with ample space for the toes. If you suspect you have a hammertoe, see your doctor or podiatrist for treatment.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can become infected and extremely painful. It is good to check your feet frequently and to trim your toenails carefully leaving a little of the white so as to keep the nail from pushing into the nail bed. Cutting toenails too short can lead to problems of infection and pain.

Diabetes and Feet

If you are diabetic, it is extra important to pay attention to your feet. A minor corn, a cut or a callous can become life threatening due to the issues diabetes can cause. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels to shrink causing a wound to heal very slowly or not at all. It can also damage nerve endings leaving you unaware that there is a problem with your feet. Lack of circulation or lack of feeling can lead to some very serious consequences such as amputation. It is extremely important that you check your feet every day, especially if you are diabetic.

Blood flow to your feet is vital. Get up, move around, do stretches, and take walks, all of which keep a healthy flow of blood traveling to your feet. Sierra View Homes Retirement Community has many paths to take a walk, there is a heated pool for swimming and exercise equipment to build strength. You will walk better and farther with proper fitting shoes with good support and have good cushioning. A podiatrist comes on campus to care for the more difficult foot care issues.

This is not a complete list of possible problems that can happen to your feet. Foot pain can really hinder quality of life. It is important to pay attention to your feet. Watch for problems and address them quickly. If there is a problem, see your doctor to get treatment and keep moving for a long and healthy life.

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