Wintry weather and safe footwear!

I want to be safe indoors, too, so I’ve just ordered some Rieker slippers in a sale. I need a good fit and soles with a good grip, and I know that I can rely on Rieker for both of these things.

I know too many people, including dear family members and good friends, who have had bad falls, and I have become increasingly wary about this, especially as I am now what is officially described as ‘elderly’ (though at times I still seem to have the heart of a youngster!)

My first scare in the bad weather was in the autumn when negotiating fallen leaves on a wet pavements  left me thinking that I had better stay at home or get some good all-weather boots with solid serrated soles – I got the boots (Rieker sale again!) and I love them. So now I’m all set for the ice and snow if we get it, which we probably will.

It seems that my interest in  safe footwear is not a bad thing at all –  I recently read an interesting, informative and reassuring passage on geriatric care* in ‘Being Mortal'(Atul Gawande). In this passage, Gawande, a surgeon, described how he called in  at the ‘Center for Older Health’ in the hospital where he worked and, with the permission of patients, sat in on some visits from the chief geriatrician. In this particular passage of the book Gawande describes the consultation with an elderly lady  who was ‘in good condition for her age’ but who ‘faced everything from advancing arthritis and incontinence to what might be metastatic colon cancer’ – yet the geriatrician spent most of the time looking at her feet! Here are some excerpts from the passage about the geriatrician’s interest in the lady’s feet:

” ‘Is that really necessary?’ she asked, when he instructed her to take off her shoes and socks.

‘Yes,’ he said. After she’d left, he told me, You must always examine the feet.’ ”


“The single most serious threat she faced was not the lung nodule or the back pain. It was falling.”


“The three primary risk factors for falling are poor balance, taking more than four prescription medications, and muscle weakness. Elderly people without these risk factors have a 12% chance of falling in a year. Those with all three risk factors have almost a 100% chance.”

The geriatrician suggested that the lady might make some changes in her lifestyle and, almost a year later, Gawande visited this lady, who by then was 86: “She still lived comfortably and independently in her own home. And she had not had a single fall.”

So far I have read the first 60 pages of this book, and I am looking forward to reading the entire book – 282 pages in all.

I still remember the years when I used to swan around wearing pretty shoes with stiletto heels. I am now looking forward to the delivery of my ‘sensible slippers’ and I am sure I’ll be as thrilled with them as I was with my stilettos of bygone years. Aging is another season in life, and I am finding it all rather interesting, despite my aches and pains and gradual decline in health and competencies. And I am finding Gawande’s book really helpful and encouraging, despite its rather sobering title – no wonder it is a bestseller!

  • I just thought I’d mention that I don’t really think of myself as ‘geriatric’. I actually think of myself as a ‘young’ Senior Citizen. This is probably because we have several delightful friends at church who are old enough to be my parents 🙂





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