After I had a pacemaker operation, my left arm movement was limited for three months. I needed a physical therapist to help me.

Jessica, my physical therapist, got my arm to start moving, and then suggested a cane or a walking stick due to my balance issues.

Standing in my kitchen, Jessica said, “YouIf my husband were still alive, he would be someone to lean on have balance issues. You are a fall risk. Get a cane for my next visit.”

Holding onto the table, I said, “I will look old with a cane.”

“You don’t look very well waddling without it.” Shaking her head, she said, “You won’t look good lying on the ground after a fall.”

I had been chair-walking or holding onto walls for a while now, hoping I’d reach the other side of the room without falling.

For me, being afraid to go out the door or being afraid of falling was like walking through life alone. If my husband were still alive, he would be walking beside me, be someone to lean on.

I decided to get a walking stick instead of a cane.

The first time Jessica walked beside me down my quiet street, she explained how to use the walking stick. “Walk in the middle of the road; it’s less bumpy. A bumpy path is harder to manage.”

I remembered holding onto my baby brother’s carriage while my mother pushed it. I pushed my own baby carriages while constantly talking to my own children. Years later, I was fortunate enough to hold on and push grandbaby carriages, talking to them.

Finally, my arm was able move enough so I could drive. The problem was how to get from the car to where I wanted to go. How would I navigate that alone?

I drove to the foot doctor since my foot problems added to my balance issues. There, I got out of the car, but was afraid to walk into the building even with the walking stick. Afraid I would fall.

I decided to wait for someone who was going into the building and ask for help. I saw a very pregnant woman and asked, “Can I hold onto your arm?”

Holding out her arm she said, “Yes.”

I asked her name and then wished her luck on the upcoming birth as I got out of the elevator and ambled into the office.

After the appointment, I waited at the curb, waved my arm and said “Hello” to a gray-haired lady.

She answered “no” without even asking why I greeted her.

An elderly man sitting in a handicap spot asked, “Do you need help?”

“Yes,” I said.

He got out of the car and explained, “I thought you were waiting for someone.”

He not only helped me down the curb but walked me all the way to the car.

The next time I needed help, it was at the local supermarket. I left the walking stick in the car near a cart stand and walked in and around the store with a cart, then checked out. Outside, I noticed that I had to walk down what I used to regard as a slight incline, but what now seemed like a hill that would propel me and the cart into the parking lot or an oncoming car.

I noticed a young girl attached to her cell phone and asked if she could help me down the incline. After her confusion about how to detach herself from her phone even for a few seconds, she helped me. She helped me down the incline and seemed willing to take me further.

“Thank you,” I said. “I can do the rest myself.”

Each time I went to the market, I askedEach time I asked for assistance, everyone readily offered someone for assistance when I got outside. Everyone readily offered. One man who helped me down the incline saw me putting the packages into my car and asked, “Can I help you put them into the car?”

“Yes,” I responded. He then put the packages into the back seat.

At a small grocery store, I asked for help with the packages. While the young girl was putting them into the car, I said, “Help older people while you are young, and then others will help you when you are old.”

This story might seem ordinary to you, but when you become older, “ordinary” acts like walking to a grocery store can be monumental. So please remember: every good deed is eternal. Doing a kindness for someone else just spreads the kindness and makes it continue on.

And for us elderly people, just as when you first learn how to walk, all you have to do is take the first step. Then learn when to ask for help.