One of the highlights of the many varied activities that we have in our Assisted Living community has nothing to do with entertainment. It does have everything to do with health and prevention. When it comes to taking care of our feet, it is no small matter. Yet many seniors lose the ability to safely trim their toenails or inspect their feet for other issues. That is why the periodic visits from a podiatrist keep our residents feeling one step ahead! Since the feet are closely tied to our overall health…here are some simple tips excerpted from GREAT FEET FOR LIFE: FOOTCARE AND FOOTWEAR FOR HEALTHY AGING by Paul Langer, DPM to keep your feet headed in the right direction.
Foot Hygiene The single most important thing one can do for foot health is good foot hygiene. This means washing the feet daily, wearing clean socks and caring for the skin and nails on a regular basis.
Skin Care The skin of the feet must be resilient enough to withstand thousands of footsteps each day. Bathing the feet daily, applying moisturizing lotions to dry skin and managing calluses with lotions and a pumice stone helps our skin hold up to the demands of an active lifestyle. Never ignore rashes, painful calluses or skin that is red or tender as this can be a sign of infection. For those whose feet sweat excessively, foot powders and socks with less than 30% cotton are best for keeping the skin dry.
Nail Care Toenails tend to become thicker, discolored and more brittle as we age. This can make it more difficult to trim the nails and contribute to painful nail conditions such as ingrown nails or fungal nails. Nails should be trimmed straight across and rough edges or nail thickness should be reduced with a nail file.
Footwear For those who are vulnerable to foot pain whether from arthritis, previous injuries or toe alignment issues such as bunions or hammertoes, it is imperative that you wear shoes that fit well, provide proper support and are not excessively worn. Poorly fitting shoes contribute to many of the most common causes of foot pain. Take the time to visit a reputable footwear retailer and spend the time necessary selecting a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes.
Falling Risk and Your Feet Risk factors for falls include: poorly fitting shoes, shoes with elevated heel height, excessively worn shoes, sandals or shoes with an unsecured heel.
April is Foot Health Awareness Month. So step up and make good choices for your foot health! It will help keep you feeling footloose and fancy free!
As the season of Spring begins to unfold with all of its grandeur and beauty perhaps it is a time for an awakening for you? Here are some suggestions to get a jump start on the season of re-birth!
See the Sunshine-Get out and enjoy the blooming flowers and all the beauty that the outdoor holds. Enjoy filling the bird feeders within your community. There are quite a few science-backed health benefits to getting a daily dose of nature. Research has shown that getting outside can lift our spirits and brighten our mood so much that it can actually be a form of therapy.
Reach Out to Friends-Take the time to call an old friend or share a cup of coffee with a new one. The most important thing in any community is having people around to support and engage with. Having interaction and forming friendships with each other keeps you vibrant and healthy.
Be Active and Engaged– You have plenty of living left to do! Perhaps it’s time to lead or join an activity in your community. We have people that volunteer at hospitals, read to children at local schools or do service work for non-profits. Staying engaged with your community and continuing to make positive contributions, is invaluable. The health benefits of volunteerism are well documented, including its impact on increasing longevity.
If you have been following these blogs then you have already read about three centenarians, people the age of 100 or more, that currently live in one of the Great Oaks Management assisted living communities. Our fourth centenarian is Mrs. Mildred Raby, who at age 104, has lived through the history most of us only learned about in school. Mrs. Raby, a resident of Limestone Manor since 2011, is perhaps one of the most humble ladies I’ve ever met. She did not consider living to be 100+ as any kind of achievement or accomplishment. Then I learned that her older sister lived to be 108 years old. Obviously, longevity is a “family tradition!”
Mrs. Raby was born December 17, 1912, when many modern conveniences that we take for granted, like electricity and indoor plumbing were not available in most homes. Like other centenarians, Mrs. Raby has witnessed some remarkable changes in the world firsthand. The mother of five raised a family when housework was hard labor, before the inventions of washing machines, microwaves, disposable diapers, and Dirt Devils.
Those in her caring support-system admit that Mrs. Raby is not as active as she once was, but looking around her apartment at Limestone Manor I saw family photos and mementos from her past. After observing a wooden plaque on the wall with the Madison County Seal of Friendship, I learned that Mrs. Raby retired from a career with the Madison County License Department in addition to raising a family. Trophies from the 1979 PTA Rook Championship were proudly displayed along with a Certificate of Recognition and birthday wishes from the Mayor of Athens.
There is no denying that being the “Rook Champ” and maintaining a happy social life has positively contributed to her good health. Experts say that most centenarians have a “roll with the punches” attitude toward life and Mrs. Raby is no exception. Her advice to others on the secret of longevity was simple – “You just have to keep on going.” Seven words which convey determination, perseverance, patience and a positive outlook.
All of the centenarians seem to have a remarkable ability to “shake off” what life has thrown at them and to move on! They have great stories to tell. You should take the time to listen to a centenarian and take a look at their amazing life!
For most centenarians, long life is a precious gift and not a burden. At 103 years old, Sue Clark remembers most everything from her life – names of old friends, growing up on a farm in Giles County, Tennessee, details of her husband’s transfer to Redstone Arsenal, receiving a teaching degree from Martin College, enjoying a good golf game, and memories of watching her students grow. The Limestone Manor resident and retired kindergarten teacher has remained happy and healthy by staying busy (and motivating others to join the fun). She recently celebrated her birthday on March 3 with neighbors, friends, family and the mayor!
Listening to Sue Clark share fun memories was fascinating. After moving to Athens, Mrs. Clark started a home kindergarten in 1963 that helped mold and shape many a student. She created the foundation for students to use their imaginations and grow their intellect. With a twinkle in her eye, she talked about her 20 year career in teaching and the various activities she did to make learning fun. Her stories included everything from building a playhouse in the backyard to train-rides, to “Hobo Hikes” and eating a sack lunch in an open field. It was obvious that she loved children and motivating them was her biggest reward. You could tell that Mrs. Clark was having fun too!
Another thing that she enjoyed was music and being involved in church. Mrs. Clark was part of a singing group, The Merry Makers. After closing her kindergarten, she told a friend…”I have all of these band instruments left over from teaching, what can we do with them?” They organized a group that performed around town. The Merry Makers and their entertainment is what originally brought her to Limestone Manor Assisted Living, where Mrs. Clark now resides.
Sue Clark first visited the senior community singing and spreading cheer to everyone. As a resident, she now enjoys the varied activities and especially the music that Limestone Manor has to offer. But truth be told she still loves to tell stories. These she now shares with the other residents, staff, family, friends and many visitors at the Manor. Her walls beautifully display a lifetime of memories. But the true beauty of the trip down memory lane…comes straight from the source.
According to a recent article by Good Housekeeping, living longer life may have something to do with Assisted Living Communities! The article states, “Beyond inviting our older relatives and friends into our homes, it’s important to encourage elderly relationships — which is why, despite popular belief, older folks tend to thrive in independent or assisted living environments. These living arrangements provide more ways to mingle, to connect, to thrive.”
This holds true for Mrs. Carrie Miller. Mrs. Miller celebrated her 103rd birthday this past December. As we sat down to talk with her we learned a little bit about her Southern charm and grace. Mrs. Miller is from Georgia and moved to the Gardens of Clanton in 2010. She grew up with five siblings, one of which was her twin brother named Jay. She has made a wonderful life and has been blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
A former homemaker, she enjoys going to parties and her favorite holiday is Christmas. She is quite the fashionista and when she was ready to greet us, she showed us several of her outfit choices before selecting the perfect one that was one of “her” colors. She looked quite lovely of course. She has always been a social butterfly and when asked what makes her happy she said it was her children, family, friends AND…listening to the Chosen Two singers that share music at the Gardens of Clanton. She loves life and hearing a message in song. She shared that her favorite part about living at the Gardens is having wonderful help always there for her and having friends to talk to. So blessed to have her charm and grace. Grateful that her life has been enriched by her time at the Gardens of Clanton.
As children, many of us feel that we could live forever. In this day and age, thanks to modern medicine and other interventions, many are living to be 100 years old and older! The thought of living to be Centenarian intrigues me. But after a recent interview with Gardens of Wetumpka resident Mrs. Bennie McDonald, I was more than intrigued…I was inspired.
When Mrs. Bennie moved to the Gardens of Wetumpka, she very easily could have propped up her feet in an easy chair and rested on all of her many accomplishments. She had been a loving wife and mother and spent a very fulfilling career in education. She has painted a beautiful life all without the stroke of a brush….that is until she attended an art class at the Gardens of Wetumpka. You see, Mrs. Bennie hasn’t just been biding her time in the assisted living. She has been living life to the fullest. Mrs. Bennie began painting as a result of this activity at the assisted living. Today her artwork graces the halls of the building and is actually in high demand. She has even sold many of her paintings. With a careful hand and an artist’s eye she paints many beautiful pieces on her canvases. When asked what she thinks is the key to living a long life she explained that the Lord has carried her through many trials in life and that she wouldn’t be anywhere without Him.
She also explained that besides her artwork, the thing that makes her smile the most is her “wonderful children and the memories of her husband.” She expressed her delight that many former students have told her that she was a good influence on them. She continues to be an encourager as she has always been an avid gardener and now she has passed along her green thumb to one of her neighbors at the Gardens of Wetumpka. So amazing to think you may find a new talent in your life in your golden years. Mrs. Bennie is an inspiration for all of us to live each day fully, never stop learning and paint a beautiful life. Mrs. Bennie celebrated her 100th birthday on October 23rd.
I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life that someone offered me chocolate that I refused. That may be why I typically keep a pair of Spanx close by. But I must say that one of all-time favorite chocolate treats is a slice of chocolate layer cake. We have a precious lady at the Gardens that makes the absolute best chocolate cake that I have ever put in my mouth! So… when she agreed to put the recipe out to share on the blog, I jumped at the chance.
But before we get to that…here is a little background on the lady we affectionately refer to as ‘Aunt Dimp”
Dimple Zorn grew up just outside of Clayton, Alabama. She is a former Gardens of Eufaula queen and I tease her that she keeps the roads hot staying on the go… She has a love for life and is the mother of 3 wonderful children as well as the grandmother to 5 grandsons and 2 great grandsons and 2 great granddaughters. She was married to her late husband, Willie Ray for 66 years. Aunt Dimp told me that she started learning from her Mother how to cook at the age of 9 or 10. She says that she has always loved baking. She has agreed to help us learn to bake her special chocolate cake during an activity this week at the Gardens of Eufaula. This recipe has always been a requested favorite in her family. I hope you will take this recipe and share it with someone you love.
Aunt Dimp’s Chocolate Layer Cake
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
Mix above ingredients together. Spray pans well with Bakers Choice (with flour). For 9 inch pans use ¾ cup of batter and for 8 inch pans use ½ cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees until done. Cake layers will not brown much.
3 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
19 oz. can evaporated milk
2 ½ sticks margarine or butter
Mix above ingredients together. Let them come to a boil for 3 ½ minutes. Stack each layer and cover with filling. Then stack again until all layers have been stacked together with filling in between each layer.
Years of baking this cake taught me to add 3 extra tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon Karo light syrup to the remaining filling. Boil until thick, approximately 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Cover the entire cake with this mixture. Doing this makes a pretty cake.
Depending on the size cake pan you use, this cake will be 11 to 13 layers.