Making a splash – Marion’s poolside ‘comeback’



Marion with Occupational Therapist, Jen Schroeder

Today we share a story from our Better Together series to spotlight our Rehabilitation team and services during National Rehabilitation Awareness Week.

Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympic swimmer of all time, once said, “Swimming is normal for me. I’m relaxed. I’m comfortable, and I know my surroundings. It’s my home.”

His words happen to reflect how Marion feels whenever she glides into the pool at her home, Carondelet Village in Saint Paul, Minn.

And just like the water that surrounds and propels her movement, an entire team was supporting Marion along her recent journey of recovery.

A year ago, a fall at her independent living apartment caused a major setback. Hip fractures and a head injury resulted in her stay as a guest in Carondelet Village’s care center. Fiercely independent by nature, Marion, age 93, suddenly felt overwhelmed.

“It would have been easy for me to stay cuddled in bed,” Marion recalls.

But that’s exactly where she was met by the PHS Rehab team, whose motto during this National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is “the comeback is stronger than the setback.”

“They saw me when I first came to the care center and gently motivated me to get moving,” Marion said. “I will forever appreciate their persistence and kindness.” Able to take just a few assisted steps at the time, Marion soon progressed through short-term rehab.

Later, discharging from the care center, Marion returned to her apartment — yet the journey was far from over.

Hoping to regain her highest level of independence, Marion called upon further support from Optage, the home & community-based services division of PHS, then from outpatient therapy at Carondelet Village.

With their continued support and consultation, Marion experienced the pleasure of returning to most of her daily, familiar routines.

Still, she had one final goal in mind: returning to the pool. Such would require seamless coordination from a support team, including occupational therapy, physical therapy and fitness staff.

Marion relearned how to open the heavy doors to the pool, use the poolside shower and choose appropriate footwear (Crocs!) to avoid a slip and fall. Fitness staff determined Marion’s readiness inside the pool.

As soon as Marion made her comeback, therapy and fitness staff cried out to one another, “Marion’s in the pool!” and quickly lined up to cheer from the expansive window overlooking the pool.

Occupational Therapist Jen Schroeder recalls those first, frequent visits: “She’d always be looking up, watching for us, and then give us a big wave.”

Within the PHS continuum of care, the PHS Rehab team is making a big splash in the lives of many older adults.

“It was nice to have them carry me through my recovery …” Marion reflects. “They are very fantastic therapists.”

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers.

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