Last spring, Melbourne resident *Jennifer Larson had major surgery and her doctor prescribed post-op home health care. At the hospital social worker’s recommendation, she chose VNA. Once home, Jennifer’s main issue was balance, something she’s still working on. “I’m going to be 83 and it’s really exhausting; I had lost a lot of strength during this entire process,” she says. “I have very little upper body strength. When I grasp things, they will sometimes fall out of my hands, so we’re working on some hand therapy.”
Jennifer receives hand therapy from both occupational and physical therapists, ultimately working primarily with the physical therapists. “They use these bands and have me stretch the bands in different directions, and it’s more about my upper body,” she says.
Jennifer has been pleased with the progress she’s making, but she and her physical therapists have realized her upper body isn’t the only thing she needs to focus on. “I (also) want to focus on getting my (lower) body strong and trying to work on balance because I don’t want to fall. My biggest fear is falling. I hear so much from friends of mine that they are falling and that’s the last thing I want to do, fall at my age, and have to deal with a hip fracture or anything like that. So, I feel like getting stronger in my legs will help me and get my balance to be where it needs to be,” she says.
And she’s right to be concerned. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injuries for seniors 65 and older, and they often result in fractures and brain injuries. Having run a home health agency for 20 years prior to retiring, Jennifer is very cognizant of this. That’s why she appreciates the exercises her VNA physical therapists work on with her. “They put the bands around my legs so it’s resistance training and then sometimes we’ll work with weights,” says Jennifer.
And she is thrilled with the level of care she has been receiving, which she says is a real compliment considering her professional background in home health. “The quality of care you’re getting with VNA is excellent. People have been wonderful. Everybody’s been wonderful,” she says. “I’ll request it every time.”
*Not her real name