8 Intimate Photos That Show The Beauty Of Aging Hands

"My hands have changed considerably from young, beautiful and smooth to old and wrinkly, but they're still useful."

A woman's hands can tell the world a lot about the life she's lived. The way she keeps and carries her hands throughout her life is highly personal -- callouses, freckles, go-to gestures and injuries all tell their own stories.

Like the rest of a woman's body, her hands change with time. With each passing day, the stories they tell become more detailed, more nuanced to personal experiences. They become the physical manifestation of a woman's strength and achievements, and the result can be stunning.

Eleanor Roosevelt once remarked, "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art." Take a look at an older woman's hands and you'll see just that.

Need proof? The Huffington Post photographed the hands of eight women over the age of 75 to showcase the diverse lives they've lived and the hands that carried them through it all.

Margaret Berman, 93, retired clinical microbiologist
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"The only special way in which I used my hands was to play the cello, and I’ve been doing that since I was -- god knows what -- 7 years old. People think when they hear that you’ve been playing an instrument for 80 or 90 years that you’re a great player, but that’s not the case at all. You can be a very mediocre player all of your life. I play chamber music, which is a wonderful thing to do because you’re in groups. You have to play well enough for other people to be willing to play with you, but you don’t have to be a superstar.

It’s a wonderful thing to play an instrument, because it takes you away from everything. It requires complete concentration. Whatever else that’s going on in your life, whether it’s great or terrible, it just vanishes, at least for those couple of minutes. I would recommend it to everybody, because you can play an instrument until the end of your life. I’m 93 and here I am, still playing. My tone isn’t as good as it was, but I can still do it. In that sense, my hands have been great. They somehow seem to be pretty good for managing the cello."
Anita Kamiel, 78, registered nurse, gerontological administrator and founder/owner of a home healthcare agency
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"I would describe my hands as useful -- I do a lot of things with them. As a nurse, I’m using my hands constantly. As a mother and grandmother, I use them to cook meals for my family, which I enjoy doing. My hands have allowed me to help people in general -- my family, my patients, my grandchildren, my clients. They help me express myself and allow me to say what I want to say so that people understand how I feel and what I mean. My hands have changed considerably from young, beautiful and smooth to old and wrinkly, but they’re still useful, and I thank god for that."
Bernette Rudolph, 86, artist
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"I’m very careful about my hands. When I work on a saw, I concentrate. That’s why I have all of my fingers. My hands carry out my feelings and my thoughts -- they’re a conduit. They’ve been with me a long time. I’ve been making art all my life, really all my life. I started when I was seven. I decided I was going to be an artist and I stuck with it. When I became a professional artist, then I started to work in wood. I have a relationship with the wood. Wood doesn’t always do what you want it to do. It gives you a certain resistance, and that’s why I like working with it. You have to know how far you can take it.

My hands at this point, I don’t recognize. They’ve got a lot of lines. My veins show and my black and blue marks show, but they still function and I’m very happy to have them."
Hua Chin Chen, 84, pediatrician
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"I’m a pediatric doctor. Because I’m so small -- I was 5’2” and then I shrunk to 5’ — I didn’t feel obstetrics was the right path for me. I have very small hands and couldn’t accurately tell the stage of [child] delivery. I was more interested in pediatrics, which suited me much better -- at least I was bigger than the children. I remember my small hands were particularly useful when I was in the surgical department. If the surgeon opened the abdomen and wanted someone to check on any foreign body that may have been left inside or not, they’d say, ‘Let us borrow your hands!’ The surgeons would frequently ask for my assistance to double-check instead of using the medical equipment.

I have rheumatoid arthritis in my right hand, so now I have to use my left hand a lot. It’s not until you lose function of your hand and it starts to hurt that you know how important it is. I’m right-handed, but I believe I was born naturally left-handed. When I was a young child, my father found me using my left hand. Right away, as was the custom in those days, he tied my left hand up until I used my right hand. In 'old' China, when I was growing up, we were not permitted to use our left hand. One reason is because we all sat at round tables and used chopsticks. If you use your left hand and everybody else uses their right, you bump elbows.

My hands still work pretty well, except for the rheumatoid arthritis. I have to learn to live with it. Once you have rheumatoid arthritis, you can’t do anything about it."
Clara Villarosa, 85, author and entrepreneur
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"My hands are aged but elegant. Although I try to manage it as I’ve gotten older, I talk with my hands and I express myself with my hands. I don’t want it to be excessive -- I really want it to be subtle. It seems to help express what I’m going to say. When I’m trying to be powerful and really want to make a statement, I don’t use my hands. But when I’m a little more relaxed and it’s fun and it’s more casual, I do.

The thing I’ve noticed mostly about my hands it how they have aged and gotten wrinkled. At first, I was embarrassed. I really tried to cover them up. But now it’s appropriate -- your hands age just as you age. So you’ll have wrinkles on your hands just like you have on your face and on your arms. It’s a natural thing. You can put lotion on to make it smooth, but it’s part of aging."
Renee Fedida, 90, homemaker
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"All of the work that I’ve done in my life, I’ve done with my hands. I sewed my children’s clothing when they were young, and I was always cooking for my family. I cook Moroccan food, French food and Spanish food mostly. I love to make couscous and tagines, but my specialty is dafina [cholent], a very specific Moroccan Jewish dish that’s cooked over the course of the sabbath. I would make it on a Friday afternoon and we’d eat it on Saturday after synagogue. I’m a proud grandmother watching my children and grandchildren eat my food. When my late husband got sick seven years ago, that’s when my hands started giving me trouble with arthritis. It made me more conscious of my age."
Betty Zimmer, 91, retired costume designer
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
"I think my hands are terrific for what they’ve done. I’ve made a lot of children’s clothes and a lot of costumes. I’ve made people look really great on stage. I cut and sewed and bent over a sewing machine for hours and hours and hours. I loved it. It was like putting a puzzle together. You start with nothing and then you lay it all out and then you cut it out and then you can’t wait to put it all together. It’s very exciting. There’s always a lot of satisfaction creating something that’s beautiful. I got a lot of pleasure from making people look great.

I started sewing when I was 4 or 5 years old, and I did it until my eyesight got too bad. I was born in Nebraska, so of course everybody knitted and crocheted, too. I’m not real good at it, but I crochet baby blankets now. I love to be creative; I love working with my hands. It’s just fun."
Rogelia Carrillo de Landazuri, 101, retired teacher and headmistress
Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
"My hands helped me as a teacher, because I had to teach students, from younger to older, how to write. I’ve also used them to write school books for 1st grade until 6th grade. The books I’ve written are called 'Escolar Ecuatoriano.'

With age, my hands have become, I wouldn’t say looser, but easier to use and handle, especially with writing. To take care of them, I do what everyone does. I wash them everyday and I put on moisturizing cream."

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