Rockin’ and Talkin’ with the Clinton Seniors’ Association

Some simple steps to take to decrease the risk of falls

By Zee Chevalier

“Even though February was the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seemed like the longest.”

Lorraine Smelling

I opened the computer to find a quotation about February and read through dozens that all sounded negative, referring to dark days, black trees, hard earth, no sunshine, glad it was the shortest because it was the worst, and so on. So I kept reading until I found one that said something good about February. This is how Charmaine J. Forde sees it: “Though February is short, it is filled with lots of love and sweet surprises.”

One of those sweet surprises is Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. We can all relate to that, especially exchanging Valentines at school. Who can remember teachers sending home a list of every child in the class so everyone received a Valentine from everyone else and no child was left out?

The calendar tells me that Family Day (in B.C.) is Feb. 18. I thought Family Day was in the summertime, so I checked July and August and there’s B.C. Day (Aug. 5). So B.C. families get to celebrate their own special days twice each year.

There’s a special day in February that our Asian friends celebrate: Chinese New Year on Feb. 5. This year is the Year of the Pig, which ruled the Chinese zodiac in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, and 1959. Those born under it are said to be frank, forthright, and trusting.

Canada Post has issued stamps based on the story of Zhu Bajie, a colourful character from the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West. A once powerful figure in Heaven, Pigsy—as he became known—was banished for misbehaviour to life on Earth as a human-pig hybrid. Check out the colourful stamps, which were issued on Jan. 18, at the Post Office.

The Foot Clinic will be on March 7 at the Clinton Seniors’ Centre, 217 Smith Avenue. To discuss your foot care needs or to book an appointment, call Colleen Thom RN FCN FCNEd at 1-250-819-1632. Colleen is rearranging her schedule and will most likely be coming to Clinton every other month. She will not be in Clinton in February.

Further to our discussion on Fall Prevention last month, many falls are preventable. If we spend a little time assessing our residence we can see obvious hazards and take steps to eliminate them. I will list some common concerns, as well as solutions.

* Slippery floors: Use non-slip wax, or no wax at all. Wipe up spills promptly and leave something to remind you that the floor is wet.

* Poor lighting: Use non-glare bulbs of 100W or greater, and keep night lights on close to the bathroom, in hallways, and near the bed.

* Clutter (telephone/electrical cords, shoes, pet dishes, papers, etc.): Use cordless or cellular phones. Tape down loose cords or reroute and secure loose electrical cords. Watch out for sleeping pets and pet toys.

* Slippery bathtub or shower stall: Use skid-proof or non-slip mats.

* Uneven walking areas such as patios, garages, sidewalks, entrances, and gardens: Be aware of door sills. Are the floors even and level throughout your house? Fix them, or mark them to remind you.

* Loose carpets or scatter rugs: Have loose carpets tacked down. Avoid using scatter rugs if possible, even non-slip rugs, as you can still catch your toe on the edge and trip.

* Using step stools: Don’t use! Put frequently-used items on lower shelves and in lower cupboards. Don’t stand on chairs or ladders or stools.

* Poor furniture arrangement, and not enough space to get around if you are using a walking aid: Create adequate space. Have a friend or relative assist you with a practical, safe re-organization of your furniture, cords, pet dishes, etc.

* Reaching for high objects: Ask for help. Don’t try to do it yourself.

* Stairs and bathrooms without secure handrails: Have handrails installed for all the stairs inside and outside the house, and install grab bars in the bathrooms.

* Clothing that is too long and can trip you (e.g. nightgowns, dressing gowns, baggy pants that drag): Get dressed upon arising with appropriate clothing.

* Floppy, ill-fitting slippers, or knitted or crocheted slippers that can easily slip on the floor: Wear properly fitted, hard-soled shoes and slippers in the house.

Be mindful of your physical environment: something may have inadvertently been moved. Watch for changes, and be aware. Move with caution, alert to your surroundings. Avoid rushing around to get things done, and anticipate potential hazards and situations and take steps to manage your environment before problems occur.

The next regular meeting of the Clinton Seniors’ Association will be on Feb. 21 at the Clinton Seniors’ Centre following lunch. Come and join us! The annual membership fee is $15.

Happy Birthday Catherine Marcoux (Feb. 16) and Isabel Haining (Feb. 27).

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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