Page 10 - Senior Times South Central Michigan January 2021 - 28-01
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Page 10 Senior Times - January 2021
By: Helen Guzzo, LMSW, Manager, Calhoun County Senior Services
  As the COVID response stretches in to its eleventh month, an important coping mech- anism is making sure you are taking care of yourself. Exercise, drink enough water, eat smaller-portioned regular meals, and reach
out to others over the phone. And, take care of your feet and toenails.
Fun and Fitness classes at over 13 sites around the County as part of Senior Millage’s promot- ing wellness strategy, and this summer they converted to offering walking clubs outside. They are now waiting for the COVID surge
 To stay healthy, I have become a fan of all the free yoga classes on YouTube. My family recently purchased a Roku device for our TV to stream classes on demand. Most mornings,
I am in front of my TV doing down dogs and yoga flows to keep my back strong and work- ing properly, otherwise I have trouble with pain in my left leg. We like the Roku device so much we also purchased it for my 82-year-old mother-in-law who lives alone in Grand Rapids so that she could do yoga at home too. As the weather turns cold, it is harder for her to take her daily walks around the neighborhood. The key to healthy aging is to stay as physically and mentally active as possible.
My Dad’s feet had to be checked on because in the winter his heels would crack and bleed. For people with diabetes, checking on their feet regularly is important because infections can start quickly and spread. My Mom’s heels are beautiful because she moisturizes them every day after her shower with lotion or petroleum jelly. It is also important to keep the area between your toes clean and dry, otherwise a pesky skin infection may start to grow. Taking care of your feet and nails is part of self-care.
to subside to reopen exercise classes. Call Senior Health Partners at (269) 441-0948 for an update on their exercise and support group programs.
As time staying at home passes, I am sur- prised how my hair, and toe and fingernails have grown and need regular trimming. Make time to take care of yourself. Many older adults start going to a podiatrist to get regular nail trims when it becomes too hard to take care of their feet. I know as I have aged, purchasing good shoes and rotating them daily has been an important part of treating my left leg pain.
Helping the many older adults who live alone to reduce their social isolation is a concern that the Senior Millage Allocation Committee, the committee of volunteers that direct how Calhoun County Senior Millage funds are spent, is examining with a special task force. The State of Michigan also has this concern and has directed local area agencies on aging to develop telephone reas- surance programs. Call CareWell Services at (269) 966-2450.
 Part of self-care is taking care of your toe and fingernails, keeping them trimmed back to a proper size.
My own 83-year-old mother just visited
us for the first time in ten months to give my caregiving brother a break. Her toenails were long and twisted. It is an act of service and humility to check on your loved one’s feet to make sure their feet are healthy, and the nails are trimmed. Trim the nails straight across with a nail clipper or scissors, then use an Emory board or nail file to smooth out the corners to prevent the corners from growing into the skin. My Mom just can’t bend down to reach her toenails now. She loves a fresh coat of purple nail polish!
While foot care is not a funded service, Calhoun County Senior Millage funds 22 dif- ferent services for older adults, age 60 and over, in Calhoun County. While adult day care at Marian Burch and the Senior Centers at Heritage Commons in Marshall and the Forks Senior Center in Albion remain closed, other programs are operating and helping people. While physically closed, our Senior Centers are still operating remotely, offering online classes and education while making regular telephone calls to members for checks on well-being. In
a typical year, Senior Health Partners offers
The state has also funded free online class- es for seniors through Get Set-Up. To register visit or call 1-888- 559-1614 for virtual classes or social hours online and via telephone. In addition to social hours, older Michiganders can access more than 150 free online group classes designed
for and led by older adults. Popular classes include how to use a smartphone or tablet, how to use services like video conferencing, Gmail, Facebook, and YouTube.
 While we wait for a COVID vaccine to become widely available, stay as active as pos- sible and reach out to others. Try something new. Take care of yourself and your feet!
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, is the manager of Calhoun County Senior Services, which funds services for residents age 60 and over with Senior Millage tax dollars. To learn more, call (269) 781-0846.
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