Category: Citizen Cane

Apr 22

The right cane is essential, whether you need one to balance as you walk or to help compensate for an injury or disability. You have many choices but the most important thing is a finding a cane with a good fit that will be comfortable to use and decrease your chance of falling.

See the Mayo Clinic’s slideshow on choosing a cane

Read the story

Apr 21

Shower heads are a perfect environment for a dangerous bacteria related to tuberculosis. Mycobacterium avium thrives in wet, dark environments and can invade the lungs when sprayed from a shower head.

While healthy people are not at risk, the microbes can be dangerous for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, says the National Academy of Sciences.

“Unfortunately, shower heads have nooks and crannies that make
them hard to clean. Products with bleach can temporarily remove many
microbes, but they just grow back,” researcher Leah Feazel said.

Feazel recommends changing shower heads two to four times a year or switching to a metal shower head and letting the water run a few minutes to flush out pathogens. Bathing is a option because the water droplets are too large to penetrate the lungs, she said.

Mar 5

Muffy Jorn, a registered nurse who blogs at Big Grey Birds, posts about a funny, but not funny, night of sleeplessness. Unfortunately, too many of us can relate:

Since the whole rheumatoid arthritis thing really blew up, my sleeping has not been so great. I am sure it is at least partly medication related; for instance, steroids cause insomnia, and I have been taking them for four years straight. Sometimes pain has kept me awake, and then if you throw the peri-menopausal insomnia into the mix, it is probably surprising I sleep at all. Oh-did I mention jimmy legs?

Dorothy Parker, “Hmmm. What fresh hell is this?”

Mar 3 documents the “journey of an only daughter navigating the waters of senior care for her parents.”

The daughter lives on the East Coast and her parents on the West Coast. They see each other several times a year and stay connected via the phone. But each new year proves more challenging than the last.

Some fixes are simple, such as this one where the daughter decides to downsize after seeing she has bought into the same “Bigger-Better-More” lifestyle that has complicated her parents’ lives.

In this post, the daughter writes a 10-tip list of what she’s looking for in helping her parents explore senior living options. The list is concise and helpful and we especially loved Tip No. 10:

“Use your nose. This was a tip I got from a nurse I had a conversation with on the airplane coming back from a visit to my parents. She has worked in retirement/nursing homes for over 20 years and told me that if you walk into a place and it has an odor in the common areas … walk away. She said it’s the easiest way to determine if a facility is staffed properly to maintain sanitary living conditions.”

Eds Note: It seems impersonal calling her “the daughter,” but she has chosen not to identify herself on her site, a prudent choice given today’s lack of privacy on the Internet.

Jan 16

Anyone who has ever suffered vertigo will relate to and applaud Christian Hubert, a 60-year-old Belgian now living in New York City who rides his bike from Brooklyn to Manhattan - over the bridge! click here in voice and pictures from Read the story

Jan 16

That’s the title of Big Grey Birds under the pseudonym “Muffy Jorn.”

She writes tight, short stories about life up-close such as “Northtown,” in which a naive young woman (Is she Muffy?) encounters urban depravity.

She also writes lucidly and compellingly about living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Reading “Justify Yourself” is like hearing a top-notch sermon - the priest (or priestess in this case) - is speaking to everyone but you feel like the sermon uniquely addresses you.

If you ever feel anxious before visits to a doctor, or you live in chronic pain, or you feel misunderstood by the medical system, read Muffy Jorn, who says:

“If you have a friend or acquaintance that has any kind of pain, let them know it is legitimate. Human beings need validation. I hear you, I see you, and I care about you and your pain. It is the least we can do for each other.”

Jan 15

Sung by Dar Williams (who wrote the song)

Many thanks for this to The Sister Project, who are on a roll. Their site is fabulous.

Oct 19

Medical researchers at the University of Illinois say the 1977 disco hit “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees has the perfect beat to perform CPR.

At 103 beats per minutes, the song is the perfect CPR metronome, said Dr. David Matlock of the university’s Peoria campus.

Matlock’s research confirms the work of Dr. Alson Inaba, an emergency room doctor in Honolulu, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Research conducted by Matlock and Inaba show the song and its beat stuck with test subjects performing CPR, yielding heart compression rates within the 100-per-minute range recommended by the American Heart Association, the Tribune reported.

CPR can triple a heart-attack victim’s chances of survival, but the proper rhythm is essential, said Matlock, who is to present his findings at an American College of Emergency Physicians meeting.

Sep 15

Marion Roach Smith, of The Sister Project, has written this lovely post about the “Sisterhood of Aging Well.” In it, she challenges us to “learn not only to age, but to age well - in body, mind and spirit. ”

Marion is a writing teacher, radio columnist and author. Her sister, Margaret Roach, is the former editorial director of A Way To Garden — called by The New York Times one of the best garden blogs “ever seen.”

Marion and Margaret don’t look, act or talk alike, but it’s clear when you read them that they share the same eloquent DNA. If you aren’t familiar with their work, take time and treat yourself — their writing is a combination spa and sabbath for the brain.

Eds. Note from Marty: I still owe Marion and her husband, Rex, for helping rescue me years ago when a broken-down U-Haul filled with my life had to be unloaded into another U-Haul in South Portland, Maine. Rex and Marion were en route to visit Elizabeth Edwardsen, who had just spent a very long, hot and sticky day helping me pack the U-Haul that then broke down. I swear I heard trumpets sound when Rex and Marion arrived on the scene.

Jul 24

Singer Alanis Morissette says she was horrified by the abusive wheelchair handlers she encountered at airports when a sore heel forced her off her feet for two months.

“I have a memory in Italy where this one gentleman… was pushing me really quickly towards this post and he was on his cellphone, so I screamed at him,” Morissette told

“And then this other woman in another country was pushing me into the elevator, just ramming me in and I just had this huge empathy with elderly people and all these people who are pushed in wheelchairs at airports - it’s not what you think, they’re being abused.”

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