Kayaking Tours Near Vancouver, BC

We love recreational kayaking in quiet waters around Vancouver.

We have been enjoying these areas  now for five years. Here are our favorite areas we love and revisit often.

A few years ago we were visiting our daughter in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in Canada. One evening we took a walk along the Yukon River and saw a group of kayaker’s taking a lesson in a quiet eddy of the river. They were doing log rolls in the icy water. After watching these people for a few minutes we decided there was no way we were ever going to ever do this, absolutely not!

We were in our late seventies at the time and did want to try kayaking. We still had the urge when we arrived back in Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley, a 1-½ hour drive from Vancouver. We checked around to see what was available for us to get safely into the sport of kayaking.

We decided on an inflatable kayak called Sea Eagle.

They are sold in the USA and come with a three-year warranty so we bit the bullet and ordered a two-person unit with the deluxe seats. We checked it out once it arrived and the first thing we noticed was that it fit into the trunk of the Honda easily along with the paddles, life jackets, foot and electric pumps, seats, rubber boots and towels.

Beautiful Cultus Lake

We headed for Cultus Lake near Chilliwack and fell in love instantly with the whole concept of kayaking. This lake is perfect: 8 km long and 2 km wide. I don’t know why but the weather in Chilliwack can be windy but when we arrive at the lake it is almost calm.

During the week there are plenty of areas to put in. For the first excursion we inflated the kayak at the east end of the lake at the number 1 beach. It took us about 15 minutes from the time we arrived but once we got things right, we got that time down to 10 minutes flat.

 

There are many good places to enjoy kayak tours near Vancouver on this lake. This parking lot may be full on nice summer weekends but the boat launch is good as not many people swim there. A kilometer past the boat launch there is a little cove where there are 10 parking spots and a great place to launch.

Further down the lake, Maple Bay is another great launch area. You can drive to the lake and unload your stuff and then head back up the road to a parking lot on the left side. Park staff do not allow parking in the boat trailer lot so take the walk.

This lake is clean and a treat for sore eyes. There are quite a few picnic tables on the east end and a group picnic area about halfway down the lake. The lake is a perfect place for mergansers and the geese keep the grass clipped and fertilized.

Mill Lake, Abbotsford

The history of Mill Lake goes back to well over a century when this lake was a landing place for logs that were harvested from the area and dumped into the lake for sorting before being sent to a huge sawmill that once rested at the end of the lake.

The lake is 43 acres in size and is home to many Japanese lilies that were brought here from Japan by  some ladies who were homesick for their home country.

Parking is at a premium on the weekends. There is a good launching area at the end of Mill Road. This is not a place for huge waves as it well protected from the wind but Irma and I love it as it is right in the middle of the city.

Fraser River Kayak Tours at Fort Langley

There is a nice place to put in at Fort Langley that will take you to the boat launch just below the Fort. Make a right onto Mavis St from Glover Road and a left on Church St and the boat launch is at the end.

This is the river, which means the water is flowing, but we didn’t have any trouble paddling upstream. If the river is in flood, I would make this tour a little later in the summer. There is a tide that comes up from the ocean that helped us the last time we did this. The current was quite slow with the tide coming in.

Deas Island Kayaking Tour

This is a nice, quiet paddle that is easy to access. You can put in at Delta Deas Island Rowing Club. This tour is straight down the water area to the tunnel bridge. Pass under the bridge and there are many good options for your excursion.

This park is a wonderful place to have a picnic as there are many tables and a clean washroom.

Pitt River

The first time we arrived here to go across to Widgeon Creek, as close as we could get to park the car, was well over a kilometer. That was on a Sunday in August. We should have known it would be difficult to find parking. Late September was our second choice and the correct one because the area was busy but not too bad. You can put in and then park either in the lot or along the road.

Widgeon Creek is truly gorgeous. You must paddle across the river and find the entry to the creek. Go up this creek and it is the perfect place to poke along. Try some of the narrow waterways to see what is there. A waterway goes off to the left and goes up to a campsite where you can hike to a waterfall. We love it here and so do many more who find their way to this beautiful spot. Kayaking tours such as this one is represent what kayaking is all about!

Whonnock Lake

You can get to this little lake off of Dewdney Trunk Road turning south on 272 St and left on 112 Ave and 276 Street.

This is a nice lake to spend a sunny afternoon. Parking is easy and you can put in anywhere.

Hayward Lake Kayaking Tour

Go to the end of Dewdney Trunk Road and you come to the Stave Lake Dam. On the right is a road to Hayward Lake and go a short distance to the lake. If the parking lot is full you must leave as there is no overflow parking area.

This is why we only go here during the week. Good washrooms are next to the boat ramp. This is another beautiful lake that has been created by a dam. There are places where old trees that were killed by the rising waters still exist and can be fun to paddle through. There are a few nice beaches along this lake where you can swim or simply relax on a nice sunny day.

Harrison Mills

I’ve skipped along this north side of the Fraser River as I want to post only the areas where Irma and I have kayaked already. The Harrison Mills area is a great place to start. A little to the west of Harrison Mills is a small lake called, Lake Errock. Irma and I drove around this lake but couldn’t find a place where we could park. Perhaps someone can help us on this one and I can include it on this blog.

Just before you are about to cross the Harrison River Bridge on the right-hand side of the highway, there is a driveway to a mobile home. The gent who lives here allows people to park on his property. He has a box similar to a mailbox where you can deposit the $5 parking fee. Do this and you will find a good launch area and a few places to park.

From this area you can go west on the lake or go under the bridge and along the side of the Sandpiper Golf Course. On a nice day, we always enjoy going up along the golf course and if there are planes in the area you will get a bird’s eye view as they use the runway that is between the water and the golf course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go north past the houses you will come to a big old log that has been sitting there on the bottom for a long time. The log is a great place for a lunch. Late in the summer the water level drops and this area is very shallow. Later in the fall when the salmon are running you can see them here by the hundreds as they make their way to their spawning grounds. You will certainly see plenty of eagles everywhere as they await their turn at the dining table.

Harrison Lake Kayak Tours

Head east to Harrison Hot Springs where you will find Harrison Lake. We have two favorite areas where we put in. If the wind is down we put in at the north end of the barge area. Here you will see the breakwater jutting out. Usually there is a barge moored here. Note the portable toilet at the north end of the lot. There is a boat launch here so be alert to that when you park. You can put in here or if it is breezy there is a spot at the inside of the breakwater next to the barge.

 

 

If it is too windy then proceed north along this road for about 3 or 4 km and go straight ahead to Sasquatch Park instead of turning right at the nice homes you will see in front of you. Cross the bridge and the boat ramp is on your left.

This area is protected from the wind from the north and east as well as the south. This park is a mecca for the children. The water is perfect for swimming, there are plenty of picnic tables and a very good washroom.

There are a few nice homes to the south of the boat launch.

Hicks and Deer Lakes

I bunch these two beauties together as they are near to each other and approachable from the same area. Both have good parking areas and easy to launch sites. The scenery here is captivating and something you will never get tired of seeing.

To get here from Sasquatch Park, simply cross the bridge and turn left and follow the unpaved road that veers to the right about 1 or 2 km ahead. Slow down as the potholes will shake you up. The road gets graded once a year but there is plenty of traffic heading to the campgrounds at the lake and the pot holes soon show up again.

Kawkawa Lake in Hope

When you want a place to kayak away from the wind, hop into the car and head for Hope at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley for a wonderful kayaking tour. From the Old Princeton Road turn left on 6th Avenue and then right on Kawkawa Road and this will take you to the lake. Look for the sign as it is tricky to find. The lake is set in a bowl and you can drive down to the boat ramp to unload but you must park back up the hill where there are a few parking spots. We love this lake as do the residents.

Lightning Lakes Manning Park

These lakes are gorgeous! Kayak or canoe these two lakes and you will downgrade everything else to ho-hum status. They are not in the Fraser Valley but well worth the spectacular drive for a perfect kayaking tour.

From Hope leave town on Highway 5 and exit right on Highway 3 to Manning Park. This will take you past The Hope Slide (stop here to get the feeling of the volume of rock it misplaced) and on the way to Manning (30 to 40 minutes) you will travel over Allison Pass with simply spectacular scenery to enjoy.

Turn right at the Park and follow the signs to the lake. The lake is a popular one but there are plenty of parking areas. There is lots of room to offload your kayak in the open areas.

I refer to the lake as lakes but Lightning is one lake with a portage between two lakes. There may be a foot of water between two bodies so does that count as one lake or two? Either way, both are fantastic. There is a very busy canoe rental station here and they do a good business on the weekends.

Expect to see Giant Blue Herons, Eagles and Ptarmigans  as they seem to have accepted the fact that we humans may show up in their territory from time to time.

Irma, Colette and I drove up from Chilliwack one weekend, kayaked the lake and stayed overnight in Princeton and hit the lake again on our way back home the next day. After dining at a nice restaurant, we strolled the downtown and were surprised to have five deer cross the street a few meters away from us as they headed to their lunchroom at a cute little park.   

Final Thoughts

These are the various lakes Irma and I and our daughter, Colette have been enjoying for the past few years. The Fraser Valley does have more places to enjoy your kayaks. We try to not travel on unpaved roads so we have not kayaked on the lakes that are only accessible from forestry roads.

This is a never-ending list and as we discover more lakes and quiet waters for us older folks, I will post them here.

If you have a favorite site in mind please add a comment and I will include it here.

Parkinson’s Disease: Win the Battle With Constipation

Just when I thought I knew all of the symptoms, I find out my constipation is caused by a  lack of dopamine in my brain. What next will it be with Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s Disease: win the battle with constipation. What a title for a post!

It was about eight years ago when I noticed my finger trembled without my direction and I began to wonder why. I didn’t have a clue what Parkinson’s was all about and hadn’t given it a second thought. A few months later, after we settled into our new home and found a family doctor who took us on as patients, I asked him if that tremble could be Parkinson’s. He decided to refer me to a neurologist and sure enough, it was Parkinson’s disease. I didn’t think much about it at the time because I didn’t know anyone who had it and didn’t know anything about the disease. I am not the type to worry about something over which I have no control. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease so there is really nothing I can do about it.

Eventually Irma and I joined up with a PD support group in our city. We met some really nice people who openly shared their version of the disease. We soon learned about medications, exercising both the body, brain and voice and how to do them.

Exercise is Key

We learned that the body must be exercised every day by walking, running, working out in the gym or pool, as well as playing sports like golf, tennis, pickleball, curling and pretty well any exercise you can imagine. We love our inflatable kayak as it is a fantastic exercise for both of us.

Don’t Forget The Brain

Then, there are the brain exercises and to do this we must change from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. What changes could I make? I enjoy watching TV and there is not much to doing that. I purchased a book on how to do the Sudoku puzzles. Then, I made sure I tried to do the daily crossword puzzles in our local paper. Next was the voice exercise and this was the toughest to do. It is hard to find a place where you are able to yell loudly without causing a disturbance! My wife, Irma, is not only profoundly deaf but she is also legally blind. She is able to read with the aid of a screen that allows her to alter the size of the type but that is very slow. So to kill two birds with one stone I began to read a book to her for about an hour or so each day. She enjoys me reading and I reap the benefit of getting the vocal exercise I need.

Disease Progression

I believe doing all of these things has certainly helped me to keep the Parkinson’s disease symptoms at bay. Not much has changed over the last eight years in that regard. I do have a few more tremors in my hand but not much of a change. Walking a straight line and keeping my balance at the same time is evolving over time but most people would not even notice it.

I’m So Lucky

For some reason I can’t stand my sock on my right foot as it bothers my big toe. These are little changes that have happened to my body over time but I am not complaining as I have met a great many people who have severe complications from the disease and I am sure they would gladly trade their symptoms for mine any day.

Constipation

Today, I heard that the lack of dopamine in the brain can cause constipation. I never knew that and have read what I thought was everything there was to know about Parkinson’s disease, but I had never heard about this symptom.

It just so happens that for the past eight months or so I have been trying to overcome constipation. I tried taking a few remedies including a product called Senokot but the label advises to not use this for too long. We have had a container of Smooth Texture Fibre Laxative with Psyllium on hand for some time. I decided to try this product and it is working, goodbye constipation! I take a heaping teaspoon mixed in an eight-ounce glass of water and follow that with another glass of water once a day. If you want to try it or a similar product then I suggest you start off with a glass full once a day and see how it works. I’m not a doctor so I suggest you talk with your doctor first.

The active ingredient in this product is Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and there is a good information website here that explains how it works and the benefits of taking it.

There goes another symptom of Parkinson’s I don’t need to fret about.

Quite a Story

Have you heard about the lady in England who has the ability to smell Parkinson’s disease? This is her interesting story.

 

 

 

Seniors Kayaking Golden Rules

The Sport is Exploding

Over the last five years, Irma and I have witnessed a tremendous growth taking place in kayaking and paddleboarding on the lakes where we enjoy the sport. People of all ages seem to be taking to the waters in record numbers, especially seniors. Why? Because it is good, healthy fun and easy to do.

Irma and I have been discussing seniors kayaking golden rules that should be considered before taking up the sport.

Rule Number One:

Watch and observe. We don’t advise anyone to head to the kayak store and buy one because there are so many different makes and models from which to choose and you will probably end up with the wrong choice for your dream of a day on the water. We suggest you head out to the nearest lake or river, find some people kayaking and see what they are doing. Look for mature kayakers, not young people because they are blessed with great agility and have no fear. Once we pass retirement age we tend to not want to end up swimming to shore.

Look for people paddling both hard shell and inflatable kayaks. Watch how they get out of their kayaks. You may notice that most kayaks are easy to get into. Generally that is the easy part. With the kayak in a few inches of water, simply step in with one foot, lower yourself down to the seat while bringing the other foot inside. While doing this, you are steadying the kayak with both hands. Irma and I have an inflatable kayak and when we are ready, we launch our kayak parallel to the shore. Irma gets in first and settles down and with her paddle she holds the kayak steady while I get into my seat. When we are inside and comfortable, we paddle away.

Before we ever bought a kayak, we tried one at my nephew’s cottage. He had a couple of hard shell kayaks and I hopped into one and took off. I loved it and couldn’t get over how easy it was to move through the water. It hardly drew any water and could skim over rocks and logs three or four inches under the water. My first thought was that we must get a couple of these for ourselves! This was before I came back to the cottage and attempted to get out of it! This was not a canoe that was wide open.

 

This is the type that I tried to get out of without ending up in the water.

This kayak has an oval hole where you sit. I tried one leg but I’m six feet tall and couldn’t get my leg free. I tried the other leg and that wouldn’t work either. Finally, I managed to get one leg out but as I squirmed around, the kayak kept moving away from me. I couldn’t stand up and couldn’t get back in. I could feel myself losing whatever balance I had remaining and as the kayak moved away, I ended up sitting in the water with my legs sticking straight up in the air and feeling like a fool! Of course the kids who were watching were laughing uncontrollably as they had sensed this was going to happen and were waiting for the show.

That was the first and last time I would ever sit in a similar kayak because I had learned my lesson. Even today, a good many years later, I don’t even want to watch someone trying to get out of one of the hard shells.

Young people are so agile they have no problems with these things but when this happened I was 70 years old and should have known better.

Rule Number Two:

 

Buy an inflatable kayak! This golden rule for seniors kayaking should always start with steering clear of what anyone tells you. If you are a senior and a beginner, the inflatable kayak is simple to operate. Getting into and out of them is a dream! Yes, you can still get wet as I did a couple of times, but chances are you will be smarter than me and not get into trouble.

Preparing for a trip on the lake. The seats are on the hood of the car.

We bought a two-person Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. It is 12 feet long and you can get into and out of it easily. It has three air chambers, one for the floor and one for each side. It takes only 10 minutes to inflate. I use a small 12-volt electric pump that I plug into the receptacle in the car. I fill the chambers and then top off the air with the foot pump that comes with it. While I’m doing the filling, Irma is inflating the seats, putting together the paddles, and taking the lifejackets out of the trunk and getting the stuff to the spot where we will put it into the water.

Did I mention that we keep our kayak in the trunk of our Honda Civic? There is plenty of room for everything. We don’t need to buy a roof rack, worry about it blowing off the roof, or knocking it off the roof by hitting the overhead door to our condo. It sits quietly in the trunk just waiting for us to get to the lake.

This was taken at Ladner (Dees Island) British columbia. Irma and I are being passed by our Daughter and her son.

Rule Number 3:

Forget about speed and fast water! As we age, we should slow down and smell the roses because everything moves too fast. Everyone is always in a hurry. I suppose we all were in a hurry to get over into the fast lane but the end will come quickly enough, don’t you think? So why should speed enter into kayaking? One of the greatest pleasures a person can experience is to sit out in the kayak on a lake of mirror-like water on a perfect day, close our eyes and soak up the sun.

To get to one of our beautiful lakes we cross a river over a bridge. That river has some great whitewater and is home to many kayak races. We leave that river for the young folks who have a great time challenging themselves to go faster and faster around the many rocky challenges that make up the river.

Playing it Safe

Since our kayak is inflatable there is always a chance we could experience a leak; therefore, we tend to cruise along the shore most of the time. Of course this is where the birds and animals hang out. Animals appear to lose their fear of man when approached from the water in a kayak. Irma and I have seen deer feeding along the shore of a lake and have drifted right in to where they are feeding and they simply go on feeding. This little family of Mergansers (mother and 13 babies) were enjoying basking in the sun on a lake. We passed their rocky perch within a few feet as we were pulling in to enjoy a cup of tea on the beach. Our bow was actually touching the rock not 3 feet from them. It wasn’t until I took some photos of them that they decided to move a few feet to the left and set down again.

Give it a Try

So that‘s about it for our Ultimate Guide on seniors kayaking golden rules. By all means, don’t let the world go by and wonder what it must be like to be out there on a nice stretch of water. If we 82-year-olds can get out there and enjoy it, why can’t you?   

Hearing Impaired Products And Solutions For The Deaf

Rampant Hearing Loss Problem

There are 48 million Americans suffering from hearing loss and over half of the people 75 years of age are hearing impaired. Nearly 1 in 4 Canadians report hearing problems as well. What happens when your hearing problem goes beyond the most powerful aid on the market?

My wonderful wife, Irma, was born with otosclerosis. This is a hereditary disease that causes the cartilage to continue to grow. Of course there is a more technical description here.

It didn’t really affect her hearing until shortly after she turned 25, when she did start having hearing issues. She decided to have her hearing checked and found out that she was in need of one of the hearing impaired products. This was in the summer of 1960 and the test was a very simple one. She found the aid to be a help and wore it for a few years. Gradually that culprit, the cartilage, just kept on growing. A few years later she had to have some retesting and the result was that she needed a new hearing aid. The audiologist found that her left ear had better hearing than the right ear. We changed over the aid from the left ear and set it up for the right and she was able to hear better with both aids activated.

This System Worked for a few Years.

In 2007 we again bought the best hearing aid on the market for her good left ear. Later that year we were on a visit to Bullhead City in Arizona for a month. One day we decided to go over to Las Vegas for a few days. The city was packed as there was an all-star basketball game taking place and people were everywhere. When we arrived at our hotel for the night we were really tired and hit the sack early.

Irma Completely Lost Her Hearing!

Morning came and when Irma awoke, she couldn’t hear — she was stone deaf! Suddenly, we could not communicate. She could talk but she had a tough time controlling her volume as she couldn’t hear herself. We drove back to Bullhead City in silence. The problem persisted and I had to use a writing pad for the rest of our visit. We flew back home and immediately contacted our audiologist. He set up an appointment with an ENT who told us we could have an MRI done to try to determine what was happening and would take a month. We decided to go over the US border to Buffalo and get it done the next day. By this time she was regaining some of her hearing. The doctor suspected an inner ear virus after he had the results of the MRI. Again, we sat with our audiologist and discussed the various hearing impaired products and solutions for the deaf that we could consider. She set up an appointment with another doctor who suggested she was a good candidate for a Cochlear implant.

Cochlear Implant Candidate

He arranged for us to meet a lady who had cochlear implants done to both ears. She had her first one done free of charge and had paid for the second one herself at a cost of $30,000. She explained what it was like to hear again digitally, and told us how she learned to hear by using the talking books from the library. We were then given a date for the operation and it wasn’t long before we were ready to go.

On the morning of the appointed time for the operation, the doctor informed us of another one of the hearing impaired products that we might consider. There are many options for treatment of deafness to consider. In this procedure he could go in through her ear and drill a small hole in one of the three tiny bones that make up part of the hearing system. Then, he would insert a prosthesis in the hole. It was made up of two parts. A small plastic tube would be set into the bone and a tiny piece of titanium would be the vibrator. He advised us that if that didn’t work he could then install the cochlear implant.

We opted for the prosthesis as it sounded to be the lesser of the two evils.

After the operation, the doctor told us it was successful and to come back in a week to have the sutures removed. Once that was done, he told us that Irma now had 80% voice recognition.

Hindsight is Always 20/20

In hindsight, Irma should have had the cochlear plant because as it turned out, her hearing was pretty good for a year or so but it soon began to go downhill once again.

We moved to the Vancouver area eight years ago and soon we were meeting up with doctors once again to see what could be done. Unfortunately, because Irma is profoundly deaf in her right ear, the doctor was very afraid that if anything went wrong during another operation she could be totally deaf permanently. So, we have accepted that and life goes on.

I don’t know when I heard about the Loop. Possibly it was when I was researching hearing impaired products and solutions on the internet. Then, I read about a gent who had a blog online and he talked about it there. I sent him a note and he kindly called me. This gent was well educated and holds two PhDs. He is profoundly deaf but spent as much time with me as he could so that I understood just how the loop works.

How The Loop Works

People with poor hearing use hearing aids to increase the volume of sound entering the ear. Unfortunately, once the hearing loss becomes severe, the ability of the aid to produce good hearing is impaired. It is simply pumping volume but, in Irma’s case, the quality of the volume was just not good enough.

We Needed to Change to Digital Sound.

Digital audio is a technology that can be used for sound recording and reproduction using audio signals that have been encoded in digital form. To make this short, we hear in analog sound. With the loop system, analog sound is sent through a microphone to a converter which converts the sound to digital and sends this sound through a thin wire. If a person using a hearing aid equipped with a T-coil is anywhere inside the loop, or within about four feet or so of the outside of the loop, they will be able to hear clearly. The loop of wire is connected to the converter and then placed around a room and connected to the converter to form a loop. The converter can be connected to a TV or sound system. A microphone can be connected to the converter as well. The converter can be plugged in to a wall receptacle and it is ready to go.

How Irma and I Use This System.

Irma and I enjoy watching television and also like to talk while doing so. I will sit where I normally sit, and I place the microphone on my shirt pocket flap. We turn the TV on as well as the converter and Irma pushes a small button on her hearing aid to activate the T-coil installed in her hearing aid. When I say something she will hear it perfectly and she also hears the TV perfectly. There is a little problem in this as both the TV and I will be transmitted at the same time. We get around that by stopping the TV while I talk for a moment. Our TV system allows us to pause the program to do this.

The beauty of the system is that as long as Irma is within the area of the loop she will hear clearly. She can hear the sound of the TV from anywhere in the room and we can communicate clearly anywhere in the loop at a quiet, normal tone.

Another advantage of the loop system is that the volume of the TV can be turned down to the lowest setting while Irma can listen to the program and I can be using the computer or doing a crossword puzzle.

www.alds.com is a dealer with a vast array of hearing impaired products and they supply the world.

Wireless Headphones

A couple of years ago we purchased a wireless headset and this worked very well. That too operates on the digital system. This system works well but Irma would be wearing the headset and every so often the signal would wander off and she would need to try different settings to clear the signal. It worked but was a pain you know where.

Pocket Amplifier

Another of the hearing impaired products is a pocket amplifier. This has an attached microphone and a headset. This would be used by two people sitting next to each other on a sofa or in the car and is battery operated. Irma tried it but the headphone caused feedback.

Portable Loop

This is a good system for small groups to use. For instance, a couple want to meet up with a realtor or auto dealer in an office. Place this machine on the desk and it transmits the voices to the T-coil in the hearing aid. There is no need for the hearing impaired person to be missing out on the conversation.

HP AC151 Bedside Fire Alarm & Clock

Because of Irma’s level of deafness I have always had in mind the question, “What if I am not home and a fire occurs?” She cannot hear anything without her hearing aids on. If I were home, I would have no problem as my hearing is perfect. There will come a day when this may happen.

This bedside alarm is for people who remove their hearing aids at night and live alone or in case everyone is sleeping without their aids on.

The clock is Activated by the Fire Alarm.

It is like a sentry waiting for the alarm signal. When an alarm goes off, it is transmitted to the clock and the clock lights up very brightly and produces a very loud alarm with a baritone voice saying, “FIRE, GET OUT!” A bed shaker goes off vibrating under the pillow.

The clock is plugged in to the wall receptacle and it also has a backup battery good for seven days if the power goes off.

These hearing impaired products and solutions for the deaf are available from www.aids.com. I should mention that I am not an affiliate of this company but give this information to you as I feel it is important to know.

Here is a related article on Hearing Loss.

Hearing Loss – Can You Hear Me Now

Approximately 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.

More than half of Canadians from 45 to 87 years of age also report hearing losses. These numbers continue to rise as most people suffer from the noise we encounter every day.

My wonderful wife, Irma, was born with a hereditary disease called otosclerosis. The cartilage in her inner ear continually grows and gradually causes her ability to hear. Irma came from a family of 12 and half of her siblings have the disease. A younger sister has undergone a cochlear implant where a hearing device is embedded under the skin behind the ear and is connected to nerves from the ear. Prior to the implant she suffered almost total hearing loss, but after the operation and with some training she hears extremely well.

Each of her siblings have been wearing hearing aids for many years.

Irma was fitted with her first aid 45 years ago, prior to the digital age. She has gone through many upgrades and now wears the most powerful aids available. Her hearing loss status is “profoundly deaf”. In fact, her audiologist does not detect any ability to hear but she feels that a hearing aid in that ear somehow helps her to hear, so she wears her oldest aid in that ear.

Some years ago we purchased a microphone that I could wear around my neck that connected digitally with her aid. When I spoke, she could hear me from a distance of approximately 90 feet. The problem was that when she needed to have a more powerful aid, the neck apparatus wouldn’t work. Since newer features are created almost every day, it was hard to keep up.

Then there is the problem of puffery.

When I first heard the word “puffery” I had to look it up in the dictionary. It simply means an article or story of exaggerating praise that often ignores or downplays opposing viewpoints or evidence to the contrary. Keep this in mind when you check out the advertising related to hearing loss.

Gradually, Irma’s hearing loss got to the point where I continually had to ask, “can you hear me now?” before I spoke.

The price of hearing aids has been rising over the years. Part of the problem is related to the time it takes to fit the aid to the person. The aid is connected to a computer and the data gleaned via the hearing test is employed to program the aid. More often than not a few adjustments may be required before the aid is functioning as it is intended.

We Buy a New Model

BNTBXG Redhead woman wearing hearing aid

A couple of years ago, Irma was having problems with her six-year-old aid. She was quoted over $6,000 for a new pair. We were shopping in our COSTCO store and happened to notice their display of hearing aids. Their most powerful aid was $1,400 so we scheduled an appointment and she was fitted with a new aid. We asked why there was such a difference and were told that COSTCO was a wholesale outlet so we paid wholesale prices. They employed certified audiologists and couldn’t be more helpful. As her aid for her right ear didn’t need to be replaced we only replaced one aid.

Audio Induction Loop

We then installed a hearing loop (sometimes called an audio induction loop). It is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to the ‘T’ (Telecoil) setting. There is a small button on the aid that when it is set, the signal from the TV or microphone is picked up from anywhere in the area of the loop.

In our instance, I installed a light wire around the perimeter of the apartment along the ceiling. Both ends of the wire are connected to a small box that is connected to the TV. I have a small microphone near my chair in our living room. It is also connected to the box. When the TV is on, Irma can hear perfectly from anywhere in the apartment. The TV volume control can be turned off as the signal to the box is sent digitally so I can set my own volume level unlike previously when the volume had to be cranked up to the extreme for her to overcome her hearing loss.

These loop systems are being installed in large rooms, auditoriums, churches and wherever large groups of people gather. If a microphone is used, the hearing impaired will hear very well.

As most seniors know, little by little our bodies go on the fritz, but there are ways and means of taking care of things. Installing a loop is one way to take care of hearing loss.

Walking For Your Health

When was the last time you headed out for a nice, long walk? What prompted you to go? Do you go every day? Will you go again later today or will the one walk suffice?

Walking for your health is the number one exercise you can do for yourself. We hear this every day from doctors and health specialists, but do we simply hear it or do we do something about it? Perhaps our story will prompt you to give it a try.

Joe Quits Smoking

At 10 years of age, I had my first cigarette and although I was coughing and my throat was sore, I didn’t stop! At 18, I joined the navy and soon I was able to purchase a carton, yes a whole carton, for $1.00 and was smoking two packs per day. It was a love/hate relationship with nicotine. I was a walking stick: skinny, pale and coughing all of the time. No one had to tell me I was a mess, I knew it! Oh yes I tried to quit but something always got in the way. I would last perhaps eight hours and give up. Once, I quit for six months but the brain says, “go ahead, one will not hurt you!” but it did and I was right back to the two-pack-a-day habit.

I hated smoking. I would get out of bed in the morning and have coffee and a cigarette before heading out to work. There would be two more before I arrived and I was smoking all day. I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror while shaving. I had that “grey sickness” look; pale and ashen. One morning, I looked at my tongue and it looked like a brown shag carpet!

The Trigger to Stop

I believe that was the moment I decided I needed to quit. Walking for health hadn’t entered my mind as yet. I just had to quit or I was going to die. I looked around at my little family of four beautiful daughters and my gorgeous wife and made the decision: I would quit!

As I crossed over an intersection on my way home from work, I decided the date would be one week from now that I would smoke my last cigarette! Arriving home, I would let on I was sick and go directly to bed. I would stay in bed for three nights and on the fourth morning I would arise, tell Irma I would never smoke again, eat breakfast and go to work — that was my plan. Everything went off as planned and I was smoke free. That was 50 years ago!

So Now What?

The first evening, I arrived home from work and we ate supper. Afterward, I suggested we take the kids for a walk to get out of the house and away from any temptation to find a cigarette. We lived out in a very rural area without any street lighting. It was dark so we took along a flashlight to light up our way. It seems so short now but we walked along the road and went as far as our neighbors driveway where we turned around. Arriving home, I took the car and drove to where we had turned around and upon arriving home, I discovered we had walked half a mile. The next evening, we went to the next driveway past that one and within the week we were walking two miles each evening. The entire family loved the walks. Soon, we were walking the two miles to our church and back each Sunday.

Feeling Better

Walking for health became a lifelong habit. I remember when fall arrived and the days grew short and the snows came to our area it became a little too dangerous to walk on the roadway. I decided I would walk in the woods on our little trails. Irma and I would head out in the pitch dark and set rabbit snares. We loved rabbit stew and enjoyed many great meals. Irma sort of lost her taste for rabbit after finding a rabbit in a snare that was caught by a leg and we had no choice but to put him out of his misery. I was feeling much better, color returned to my face, food tasted better and I no longer coughed my head off — it was amazing!

After a few months, Irma and I were walking five miles per day. The weather didn’t bother us. It had to be pretty bad for us to skip a walk. We were walking an average of 1,500 miles per year!

Walking in The City

Eventually, we arrived in the city. The health benefits of walking allowed us to not only work a full day but it was nothing for us to walk for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Walking on concrete was a little hard on the legs so we found out where the parks were and walking on the paths was easier.

We found a book on 109 hikes around Vancouver in British Columbia where we resided. Every Friday evening we would study the book, select a hike and on Saturday morning we would head out. The beauty of British Columbia is phenomenal! Soon, we began to take our backpacks and the tent and go for an overnight camping trip wherever we wanted. We loved those trips. Hiking in the mountains through the most incredible scenery was perfect. We loved the Whistler area of BC where the mountains go as high as 8,000 feet or more.

Feeling Great at 82 Years of Age

For all of these years, we have had great health. Walking for health has allowed us to stay healthy except for a few problems. We seemed to recoup our health quickly post-op. Irma had part of a lung removed and I had a hip replacement. Both of us were back walking in no time. I contracted Parkinson’s Disease about nine years ago. Apart from a tremor in one hand I have no other symptoms. Now is that because of our walking? Do I have some slow-moving type of Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s Disease and Walking

Most experts will agree that walking for health really works. By the time we are diagnosed with PD we have had the disease in our bodies for more than 10 years! Some experts believe we have it in our bodies for most of our lives. Physical walking gets everything within our bodies working as it should. When we walk, our bodies appear to enjoy it; our feet feel better and we may start out with a few kinks, feel sluggish or cool but, in less than five or six minutes, we warm up and perk up. Kinks, what kinks? The question becomes, do I have a slow-moving form of PD or has the lifetime of walking helped to keep the symptoms away, or under control?

A Lifetime of Fitness

Walking has a whole range of benefits. You get yourself a good pair of walking shoes and hit the trail. There isn’t any charge for walking because it is free. There are no green fees and no tennis court charges. Simply place one foot in front of the other and that’s it. The title of this post is, walking for your health — a truer statement has never been coined.

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

We were Caretakers

My wife, Irma, and I were caretakers managing a rental complex in the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada. While I was completing a management report in my office, I noticed the index finger on my right hand appeared to tremble while I wrote. I was 73 years of age. Little did I know that this was a harbinger of things that would bother me for the rest of my life!

We never know just when a medical problem will arise.

However; as time passed, I began to wonder about it. Over the years I had seen very few people with Parkinson’s but never really gave it a thought. I had another problem that drew my attention: both of my hips were telling me something was not right. Whenever I walked, pain was telling me that I had better see my doctor to find out the cause. He had some Xrays done and confirmed I had arthritis and one hip was more pronounced than the other. He told me the wait time was about 4 to 6 months and to let him know if I wanted to book an operation to replace the hip. I didn’t even think about my Parkinson’s disease symptoms as the hip pain was my immediate concern.

At the time, I didn’t connect that little tremor with Parkinson’s disease

We Make a Move

I met with my property manager and told him our situation. He didn’t want us to leave. He offered to hire a replacement while I went through the operation and convalescent period, but Irma is profoundly deaf and was recouping from a cornea transplant and was very uncomfortable with dealing with people due to these problems. She always was an amazing worker but left the task of dealing with people up to me. So the die was cast — we were moving to the west.

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Every once in awhile I noticed my finger on my right hand next to the pinkie would quiver. Was it Parkinson’s disease? Just a thought, I guessed. But was it?

We sent our furniture via moving van and drove across Canada over a five- day period and Nancy and Jeff were there to greet us and show us around our/their beautiful new condo. It was spectacular and perfect for us. They would be living in another city about an hour away where Jeff was a successful caretaker responsible for a townhome and apartment building complex. Our daughter, Nancy, was employed with the Provincial government in a dental health program where she traveled to different locations in the area staging dental health clinics for newly arrived immigrants.

Our Medical Conditions Are Taken Care Of

We were able to find a family doctor quite quickly and he arranged a meeting for us with an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon ordered X-rays and a couple of days later he advised me that it was arthritis that was causing the pain in my left hip. He had an opening the next week so I confirmed the appointment, my hip was replaced and I was walking pain free a few days later!

Every once in awhile I noticed my finger on my right hand next to the pinkie would quiver. Was it Parkinson’s disease? Just a thought, I guessed. But was it?

I met with our family doctor and asked about my Parkinson’s disease symptoms. He set up an appointment with a neurologist who, after a few tests, explained to me that I did have Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Disease

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. I found out there was a support group active in our city and Irma and I joined with them. Over a period of time my symptoms increased and the doctor prescribed Levodopa. Fortunately, Irma and I have always enjoyed walking and as this activity is one that appears to help keep the symptoms at bay, we have followed a two-walk per day regimen since the diagnosis. Possibly, as a result, my symptoms have remained static for the past five years or so. I say, “possibly” as I cannot prove it is the walking or the Levodopa or a combination of both; but either way, I accept that something is working.

Other Activities That May Help

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can vary from a simple thing like my finger trembling to dyskinesia. This symptom is what affects people such as Muhammad Ali and Michael J Fox. Both of these gentlemen have suffered for many years but they never complained. Another symptom is a person may gradually lose the ability to speak. If a person has contracted PD one exercise that may be beneficial is practicing speaking loudly.