What Groucho Marx can teach you about caregiving

I hope you and your family had a happy new year. It’s often a time of reflection and remembrance. It’s also a time of celebration, enjoying old memories and looking forward to new ones. In my own personal reflecting, I often think of some of the old Groucho Marx routines. One that stays in my mind is his explanation of how the circulatory system works.

He explains how the blood rushes down from your head to your feet, takes a look at your feet and rushes back to your head. Although not medically accurate, it brings a smile to my face.


Groucho Marx’s humor contains some nuggets that can help you with caregiving. Image courtesy of: susiedez

Although he joked about the blood taking a look at the feet and rushing back, the reality is that foot health is an aspect of elder care that is often overlooked. Many problems show up in your feet, yet if you’re busy rushing back to your head after looking at your feet, or the feet of those you’re caring for, you’ll miss it.

Groucho’s humorous line does bring attention to the feet. You need your feet. You also need your feet to be healthy. Your feet are the foundation of balance, and often show signs of nerve damage or circulation problems. Your blood really does need to make it to your feet.

A recent article on the importance of geriatric foot care highlights the importance of this area.

The elderly know the importance of healthy and comfortable feet. Even Johnny Wooden and General Robert E. Lee knew the importance of foot care. They knew that people depend on their feet, whether in combat or sports.

In the Family Caregiver Summit, I interviewed a care nurse on the importance of making regular observations of those you’re caring for. She gave ways of documenting such observations as well. You can learn some lessons from her and the other interviewees that were a part of the summit in helping you be a better caregiver.

Putting off care of your feet is never a good choice. Neither is putting off things that can help you. Start the new year off right with helpful information you can use.

Best Wishes,

Jeff