Story and photos by Anita Grace
A foot clinic, being offered at the Churchill Seniors Centre, is helping local seniors get back on their feet.
“We are always looking at how we can meet the needs of our community,” said Anita Findlay, the centre’s programme coordinator.
So when Ruth Scott, a Westboro resident and nurse with specialized training in foot care, approached the centre about offering an on-site Beautiful Feet clinic, Anita readily agreed. “An investment in your feet means you can participate fully in life,” she explained.
“It’s a good collaboration,” she said, noting that it is very convenient for people already taking advantage of services at the centre.
It also helps people who were cutting back on activities due to foot pain. “If their feet are hurting, that limits their participation,” she said.
Stan Seymour, an 89-year-old Carlingwood resident, has been to three appointments at the clinic already. “It’s improving,” he said, about his issue, although he added that it wasn’t happening as fast as he would like.
“As we get older, we start to disintegrate,” said Stan, as he was getting ready to have his feet treated by Ruth.
Calluses on his feet had been making it hard for him to walk, an activity he and his wife Marilyn Johnson enjoyed doing together. “Bad feet can’t walk,” he quipped.
Marilyn, a retired nurse, had been caring for her husband’s feet until recent months. However, her training helped her recognize that the time had come to have professional care. She said it was important for both of them to know that “everything was being done that could be done.”
Diana Hood, another specialized nurse at Beautiful Feet, said calluses like those Stan has are common. “While normal, if they get too big, they can cause pressure sores,” she said, adding that callused skin is also inflexible and more prone to cracks.
Other common foot problems are corns and thickened toenails, issues which the clinic is fully able to address.
Diana and Ruth use professional tools and methods.
“We don’t paint nails,” Diana said with a laugh. “It’s medical foot care. Our priority is keeping people mobile and active.”
Diana added that a big part of their practice is understanding their clients’ health history. Diseases like diabetes impact circulation, often resulting in loss of sensation in toes and feet.
Treatments like chemotherapy can also affect people’s nervous system. Someone experiencing lost or decreased sensation is at greater risk of infection and problems that might go undetected without regular care.
Clients might also come when they are recovering from surgery, or when changes to their mobility make it hard to fully care for their own feet.
Like many of the clients at Beautiful Feet, Stan and Marilyn were already coming to the Churchill Seniors Centre for other activities. Being able to book an appointment before or after a class is convenient. “I’m glad they’re here,” said Marilyn.
Ruth said she and Diana are grateful to the City of Ottawa and the Seniors Centre for allowing them to use space in the building.
The clinics are currently being offered every second Wednesday. Veterans and people with Blue Cross or other extended health benefits may find the treatments are covered with their existing plans. Receipts can also be provided for tax off-sets.
Appointments need to be made directly through Beautiful Feet and not the Seniors Centre.