Category Archives: Senior

My old arthritic hands …

my hands

At age 81 my old hands are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aches and pains.  However I feature them here to make a point.

Over the past few years I’ve lost most of the strength in my hands and it was  getting harder and harder for me to open jars. I had resorted to some of the old standbys … turning the jars upside down, tapping all edges on a hard surface and twisting as hard as I could … adding a rubber band to the cap, hoping it would provide needed traction … running the jar under hot water, etc., etc.; but, all these practices rarely did the job and it was extremely frustrating.

However, all was not lost, I found a simple but very effective opener that works perfectly for me.


It’s the Maddagrip Opener and I am amazed that this simple device has given me such relief. I can easily open anything from small vials to large jars and my arthritic hands seem almost like a thing of the past as I grip with this device.

Now I can forget about the weakness in my hands and rely on my new “toy”. It sure beats waiting for a strong man to come by and open those pesky jars … I could starve by then!

His visit to the museum …

This is another product that I don’t have personally but that comes highly recommended by Fred, the husband of a dear friend.  It is his Travelon Walking Seat & Cane.

Travelon Walking Seat and cane

Over the years Fred and his wife have traveled extensively and they always looked forward to visiting the famous museums in cities where they stayed. In the past few years however it seemed like their museum days were over since the arthritis in Fred’s feet and knees really limited his ability to walk very far and he didn’t relish being pushed in a wheelchair.

No wonder he was excited to tell me about his new “toy”.  He and Janet, his wife, live about 60 miles outside of New York City and they had just enjoyed a weekend in that great city.  The highlight of their visit was a trip to the Museum of Modern Art which would have been an impossibility for him without his walking seat and cane.

As many of you know MOMA is one of the largest museums in the world and it entails a lot of walking.  Fred was thrilled to find that he didn’t need to check his cane when he entered and it enabled him to walk as well as to sit and rest whenever needed.  Travelon Walking Seat and cane sitting

The Travelon Walking Seat & Cane is just like the name implies. It is a very sturdy cane when needed but is made of lightweight aluminum so that Fred can actually hook it over his shoulder when he needs neither a cane or a seat and it will support up to 250 lbs. so this is a perfect fit for him.


So, for any of you who are limited in your ability to walk I hope this will give you a new lease on life.  It’s certainly working for Fred !



Yes, she CAN !!

This recommendation comes from my New England friend Cathy.  She is only in her mid 60’s but suffers terribly with hand deformity due to a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.  This makes it difficult to handle many tasks and among the worst of these was opening cans.  She could manage it but it was a tedious procedure and quite painful.  She was thrilled to tell me about the surprise gift that her nephew gave her last week.

It’s a Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch electric Can Opener.

Hamilton Beach Electric Can Opener


Cathy writes that it is as attractive as it is practical and she couldn’t be happier.  She’s tried all can sizes and it works perfectly every time. You just put the can under the holding bar, press the lever and your can is opened. There are no sharp edges because it cuts the can from the side and not from the top and will also cut the lids that have pull ring tabs. This is a big plus for Cathy because those were so hard on her fingers.

And here’s an additional plus that my New England friend likes.  The top of the can you just opened lifts right off  but it also gives you a lid to put back on the can if you have remaining contents that you want to save and refrigerate…or if you want to use the can with a top for storing small items.

So, all in all, I’d say this is a winner and thank you, Cathy, for providing me with the “product of the week”.

Boredom … the deadly foe.


Many years ago, while in my teens, I complained to my mother that I was totally bored.  I will never forget her answer and how it has affected me for the rest of my life.  She said, “did you ever stop to think that bored people are very boring?”   I didn’t like that answer.  Not only did it make a lot of sense … it made ME the boring one !

My mother suggested that I visit our elderly neighbor Mrs. Whitely and, although I couldn’t imagine how that would help, I decided it would be better than sitting there feeling sorry for myself.  I made up a little plate of homemade cookies and, reluctantly, made my way across the lawn.

Mrs. Whitely was surprised to see me but seemed very pleased too.  She ushered me into her living room and insisted that we have a “tea party” to go along with the cookies.  She told me to make myself at  home while she steeped the tea so I spent the time wandering around the room trying to make sense of everything.   I felt like I was in a museum and, in actuality, I was.

To make a long story short that was the beginning of an amazing friendship. Mrs. Whitely was in her 80’s and, although she had been widowed for many years she recalled how she and her husband had traveled the world for his business. Everything in that room was in remembrance of those years and she was thrilled to share it with me.

When I told her how “totally bored” I had been before coming to see her she (gently) scolded me, saying:  “Boredom is a luxury that millions of people in the world do not have.  They spend every hour just trying to survive.  You must never squander that luxury.”

Now I am the one in my 80’s and I reminisce about those magical days spent with Mrs. Whitely.  She was a very wise woman, as was my Mother.  They taught me that boredom is a trap and the best way to avoid it is to get out of ones self … like visiting a neighbor perhaps ?

Enveloped in a “Cocoon” …

Cocoon Sunglasses



Look carefully and you can see the prescription eyeglasses behind these

very smart looking sunglasses made by Cocoon. When I saw this picture I decided to give them a try and to say that it was a wise decision is an understatement!

I have bifocals and need them in order to read long distance road signs. However, the sunglasses that I was using were the clip-on type. They were OK and would cut out the glare from the sun. but I was still getting a lot of light coming in at the sides and it was very distracting, Now when I drive into a sunrise or a late afternoon sun I am not blinded. The lenses and the side panels are polarized so there is no glare and I can now put all my focus on the road.

Another thing that I love about my new Cocoon sunglasses is that when I put them on I feel like my eyes are completely protected from outside elements. This helps to relax my eyes and the strain and fatigue of squinting caused by sun glare is a thing of the past. It is very comforting and long road trips seem so much easier now.

I have the Cocoons Fitsover Slim Line Polarized Sunglasses (Burgundy Frame/Gray Lens) but you can choose from many styles and a large range of colors so I’m sure there is one that will suit you to a “T” and they all “feature adjustable Flex2Fit® temples that enable each wearer to custom contour the temple shape for an exact fit.”

I really can’t say enough about my new sunglasses. They are so light weight and comfortable that I hardly know I have them on. The fact that they look really good is like icing on the cake !

Getting pampered …

ez shampooI’m so thankful for all my friends who supply me with suggestions for my UNlimiters blog entries.  This one comes from my friend Mae.  She is only in her 60’s but is debilitated with Parkinson’s disease and can no longer do some of the things that we often take for granted … such as being able to wash our hair.

Mae writes:  “I get pampered twice a week by a dear friend who washes, dries and combs my hair for me.  She uses the  EZ-SHAMPOO® hair washing tray and that makes it easy for both of us. She actually gave me the tray as a birthday gift and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received… truly the gift that goes on giving.”

Wow, that’s a pretty nice friend.  I researched the  EZ-SHAMPOO®  company after I read her letter and the picture I’ve posted is the one they use in their ads.  You can see how the tray fits comfortably on the neck and the tray itself tilts back so the person getting the shampoo can sit naturally.  This must be a big plus for Mae since it’s hard for her to change positions and I would imagine it would be very difficult to have to arch her neck back.

I noticed that the  EZ-SHAMPOO® hair washing tray does not come with a spray hose and I questioned Mae about this.   She said that the first few times they used the tray her friend just scooped water with a cup and that worked fine but it is definitely easier with a hose.  They figured it wasn’t included because there are so many different sized faucets that a one-size-fits-all hose wouldn’t be practical and it was very inexpensive to buy one.

When I wrote to thank Mae for her suggestion she answered like this:  “Glad to do it.  We ladies need to stick together and keeping well groomed is a must for us.  You never know when Mr. Wonderful will walk through the door!”


Happy Feet



No, this is not a review of the animated film by that name, featuring this sweet little penguin. I’m talking about a gift that I received last week from a dear friend. I guess she decided that I needed some pampering because she took me out to lunch and surprised me with a gift certificate for a PEDICURE ! In all my 81 years it is something that I have never had and it was a lovely experience.

After the pedicure I called my friend to thank her and told her about the blog entry that I wrote a few weeks back about the man who swears by his daily Conair footbath. She said that her husband (who is in his 70’s) had considered that but preferred to have a professional pedicure every 4 weeks.

This got me to thinking because I realized that there are many seniors (like me) who can’t afford that but still need to have good foot therapy.

One thing that came up very frequently when I questioned my other senior friends concerning foot health is that many of them start with a visit to their podiatrist. The doctor has special equipment that aids in cutting thick and discolored nails and can also help them with high quality shoes and inserts. Then, once the podiatrist gives the go-ahead they can start a weekly regimen.

One of my most enthusiastic replies came from a 91 year old lady who lives with her daughter. She said that after each bath she gives her a good foot massage with EARTH THERAPEUTICS TEA TREE OIL foot repair balm. Her daughter has been doing this for over a year and now she swears that her feet look like they belong to a woman in her twenties. Her old yellow and thick nails are a thing of the past ! Isn’t that great? I’m going to give it a try so I can keep my feet happy too …Happy Feet2

Keeping the Bugs at bay …

This is another article about something that a good friend recommended but that I have not yet tried.  I’m referring to her insect shield jacket and pants by BugsAway®.

BugsAway BugsAway2







The BugsAway® company describes their product like this: “BugsAway® is a complete line of insect repellent clothing using Insect Shield® technology to convert apparel and gear into long-lasting, effective, and convenient bug protection.”

My friend is definitely an outdoors person. She is an avid gardener and takes long walks with her bird-watching club.  She loves the fact that she can put on her lightweight jacket and know that it will repel mosquitoes, ticks and other insects.  She can even pull up the hood and it will protect her ears and face and if she combines the jacket with the pants she has  total head to toe protection.

The pants are light weight too and if she gets them wet while out in the early morning dew she doesn’t worry.  They dry quickly and have the added advantage of  zippered pant legs.  When the day gets hot she can simply zip off that part of the pants leaving her with an attractive above-the-knee pair of Bermuda style shorts.

She did tell me that her BugsAway® clothing, specially treated with Permethrin,  is not inexpensive, however the insect shield repellent lasts for 70 washings and gives her the comfort of knowing that she doesn’t have to worry about diseases from ticks or other insects.  That alone makes it worth every penny !

Old Wives Tales …

old wife


Old Wives Tales are often myths that are thought to be untrue or not based in fact.  However I grew up in the Depression years and the Old Wives Tales that I remember most were the ones that we DID test over and over and found them to be true.  They were the ones that saved us a bunch of money by utilizing items common to every household.

So, whether they are Old Wives Tales or not I still think of them as such and thought it would be fun to list a few of them here since I know we all like to find ways to save money.

  1. Living plants in the home are natural air purifiers .  You don’t need to buy those costly Brand Named scents that often seem to overpower you with their fake aromas.  Specific varieties that work best are rubber trees, corn plants, bamboo palm, ficus, English ivy and philodendronss.
  1. Forget window cleaning sprays.   Saturate a cloth with inexpensive white vinegar straight from the bottle to wash your windows and then use newspapers to absorb the liquid.  The fibers that make up newspaper are denser than paper towels and don’t fall apart so easily.  I also grew up being told that the printers ink in the paper helped to bring out the sparkle in the glass but that I can’t prove.  I only know it works !
  1. Unclog your drains.    This one does use a Brand Name item but it’s still a lot less expensive than the heavy duty products.   If your clog is not too severe this works great.  Just dissolve 4 Alka Seltzer tablets in a cup of vinegar and flush down the drain with boiling water.
  1. Removing furniture scratches.  This is one of my favorites and all it takes is a nutcracker and some walnuts.  Remove the nut from the shell and rub it over the marks in the wood.  The oils from the nut will penetrate the surface and remove the scratches.  This works well on all varieties of wood !

So, there you have it.   I hope I’ve tempted you to write to us and share some of your own money saving home ideas.

Pampering the old guy …

foot bathHere is something that I haven’t tried yet but the husband of a friend of mine swears by it.  As a matter of fact this is what he actually said to her … “Tell that friend of yours who writes those “things” for all us old codgers that she needs to tell them to try this.”  (Which points out the fact that there are still a lot of seniors who don’t feel at home in the blogging world … but I’ll save that for another entry !)

My friend went on to say that her husband has suffered from foot pain for years.  His doctors couldn’t find a name for it and most just attributed it to old age.  However the aches and burning feet were (and are) a reality and he was very happy to say that the Conair Waterfall Foot Spa with Lights, Bubbles, and Heat has been a life saver for him.

This is a very long name for a FOOT BATH but he feels that this particular one deserves a big title since it does such a big job for him.   Once, or sometimes twice, a day he fills it with warm water and slips his tired, achy feet inside. Then his toes can activate the controls which give him high or low bubbles and also a waterfall effect that he says is very soothing to the top of his feet especially.

He was happy to point out that the foot tub does not contain a heating element (which he felt could be a safety factor) and yet the water stays nice and warm for at least 20 minutes.  He says that’s all the time he needs to rejuvenate his feet

Then once a week his wife gives him a special Spa treatment.  After his usual soak she uses the attachments that come with the Conair foot bath… the pumice stone, scrub brush and massager…on his feet.   I think the Spas call this Hydrotherapy but I prefer to think of it as one way for a wife of over 50 years to tell the old guy that she still loves him !

Aaah…my Buddy brings relief.

Bed BuddyIf you are anything like me you suffer from neck and shoulder pain. It seems to come and go but  it never disappears completely.  I’ve had chiropractors and Phys Ed teachers, over the years,  tell me that it’s a chronic problem. They have warned me that it will only get worse as I age and now, unfortunately, I can say that they were spot on with that prediction.

However, I have found relief and it’s with the Bed Buddy Neck Pillow that you see pictured here.  I’ve tried similar products in the past but none have come close to the soothing relief that I get with this one.

The pillow is filled with 100% gluten-free rice and the stitching down the middle of the pillow assures that the grains will stay in place.  A quick one minute in the microwave and you are ready for a treat.

Settle down where you are most comfortable and drape the pillow across your neck and shoulders.  You’ll find that the comfortable shape molds to you and the moist heat and the light aromatherapy scent that exudes from the pillow makes you feel like you are being

coddled in a spa !  Within 30 minutes to an hour my tired and sore muscles seem to fade away.

I also treat headaches in this way.  Before using the pillow I would take Tylenol or Motrin but I really didn’t like taking pills and it was a great relief to find that if I brought the pillow firmly around my neck and let the moist heat concentrate there my headaches would often disappear.

Chronic aches and pains seem to be a part and parcel of old age … they can be bothersome but don’t often warrant a trip to the doctor.  It’s at those times that I pull out my Bed Buddy Pillow and put it to work.   Aaaah…the relief of that moist heat.  I highly recommend it and hope it will do the same for you.

Safe in any weather …



Every Christmas I get the  “What do you really want?”  question from my children and I usually have a wimpy sort of answer like … “whatever you give me will be great.” But this year I decided to answer that question honestly and I did.  I told them I would be happy to buy all the material if they could build me a new deck to replace the one that I’d had for over 30 years !

Well, they were delighted and in March the weather man promised a few warm and clear days and they went to work.  In the picture you see the three of them in action.  That’s my oldest son on the far right, my middle son (in the white hat) under the window and my son-in-law on the left.

Working together they managed to finish the job in three days (although I can’t stain it for 6 months because the wood needs to “cure” first !).  But I couldn’t be happier …



…it’s like having my old deck back but with a very important change …I now have a substantial railing and that is critical for me.

I actually spent years without a railing and I remember the many times that I slipped on ice or wet leaves.  It’s a wonder that I didn’t break something or fall off the deck !

So, if you have a deck without a railing think hard about adding one onto it.  There are so many options to choose from and your kids will rest easier knowing that you’ll be safe in any weather.

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