August 11, 2014


On this date, August 7th, in 1908, the year my mother Phyllis, was born, nothing of historical significance happened. Henry Ford's company did produce the first Model T on the 12th, however. Also, New Years 1908 marked the first ball drop in Times square heralding the New Year.


Mom is doing fine today. The weather is an ideal upper 70° Maine summer day. So much for the forecast of rain last evening. Typical Maine changing weather patterns that often fool the forecasters. This reminds me to mention how the elderly need to be dressed with respect to temperature. Seldom does an old, or old old, the designation for the 85+ year old seniors in my world of physical therapy, person feel too warm. This is largely due to lack of heat producing muscle contractions. They can get too warm, but I'm not addressing that end of the spectrum here. In the warmer areas of the Country, including North Carolina where I live, air conditioning is almost universal. Oftentimes I enter a residence that is comfortably, and with much appreciation from yours truly, air-conditioned. Unfortunately, for the senior that is going to receive my physical therapy services, dress is usually lightweight summer fabric. Areas of exposed skin are cool or even cold to the touch. Painful joints and abnormal muscle tone issues do not respond favorably to the cold. Dress them in clothes that are one level above your comfort level for them to be comfortable. Think in terms or a restaurant where you wear a sweater or jacket to accommodate the waitstaff, who are moving while you sit.


Also, another reminder to keep them hydrated. I'm calling it “Don't ask, do tell”. “Mom, are you thirsty?” does not compare favorably with “Here Mom, drink this” when it comes to fluid intake. If the bathroom trip is viewed as difficult, an elder will often self-limit fluid intake to avoid too many bathroom trips. Be aware of this, please!


We took two short walks of 150 feet or so, resting briefly at 25 foot intervals, with 4 steps in and out of the apt. Mom also treadled mid-morning and mid-afternoon. I can not over emphasize the benefits of treadling with the Treadwell® System, not only for the elderly. It benefits everyone, especially if you sit a lot whether at work or in front of the television. Sitting is the new smoking, and that from Dr. Levine who wrote the book!


My win streak stopped at 3, as I lost in cribbage after a narrow win in rummy. Hard not to feel that she is toying with me! By the way, treadling likely improves cognitive ability as well as providing many physical benefits.


Hope you had a fine day. Richard

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