Erica Bee is the owner of Footcare with a Heart, a mobile business that provides routine professional foot care to seniors and clients of all ages on the San Juan Islands. Bee and her new associate JeriAnn or preferably Jai (pronounced Jay) Strozyk offer services at the Orcas Senior Center, at monthly clinic days at Woodmen Hall on Lopez, bimonthly clinic days on Shaw Island and private, home care appointments to homebound and hospice patients.
We asked why proper foot care is so important.
“The medical community ranks proper, regular foot care as essential in helping seniors maintain mobility and an active lifestyle,” Bee said. “It helps reduce the risk of falls, the pain and immobility associated with delayed foot care and contributes to a sense of well-being and independence. Staying mobile starts with healthy feet. It’s integral for maintaining strength, endurance, and balance.”
Both women are passionate about their footwork.
“I didn’t initially choose foot care,” Strozyk offered. “It chose me. I recently completed the Foot Care Nursing Training program with Rainier Medical Education under the proctoring of a board-certified podiatric surgeon and wound care specialist. Erica Bee was my preceptor (instructor) for the past four months, and I ultimately joined Footcare with a Heart as a footcare provider. And though I’m new to Orcas, I am in love with the island. This is the perfect job for me.”
Bee has been a Licensed Practical Nurse for 10 years and is experienced in working with Parkinson’s and dementia and hospice clients.
“Our goal is the safety and comfort of each client. We’re dedicated to serving the senior community and those at risk with comorbid health conditions (diabetes, compromised circulation, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, etc.) and active islanders who want to manage and prevent future foot issues,” she said.
Bee is proud of the fact that Footcare with a Heart works collaboratively with other Foot Care Nurses and Podiatrists affiliated with AFCNA and offers referral assistance for any conditions beyond the scope of Bee’s practice.
Because foot care is so important to one’s physical health, Bee uses only state-of-the-art podiatry equipment and follows the American Footcare Nurse’s Association’s recommendations for Code of Ethics, Protocols, and Standards of Care, and the CDC’s strict Infection Control Guidelines.
She shared one of her favorite stories about island foot care. Twice a month, her mobile service visits the Rock on The Monastery on Shaw Island.
“Not only do we provide foot care services and pampering to their years of hardy feet in service, but we trim two dogs’ and one cat’s nails! The mothers feed our spirits and our ‘soles,’” she said.
Bee also shared that Footcare with a Heart believes in a Dementia Friendly Islands Community and delights in participating in the lives of clients through the use of singing, photo sharing and storytelling.
Bee expressed appreciation to the non-profit Orcas Island Senior Center for its generous provision of space for foot care services.
Looking to the future, Bee hopes Footcare with a Heart can expand home visits and mobile services to San Juan.
“We look forward to islanders placing their feet in our hands,” she said.