Meet Mary – A Woman in Her 90's at High Risk of Osteoporosis

Author: Osteoporosis Canada

Well, my name is Mary Parker. I was born in 1923 on a farm in Antigonish so I'm about 92, I believe. I was always active. Even when I was yay high, I wondered why my parents couldn't keep up to me.

I always watch myself because I know if I fall, at my age, I could, it could be disastrous for me. I can't envision myself not being able to go. I think my mother was very depressed when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Independence is everything to her, to be in charge of her own life, to take care of her own health. So the first thing that I did was go to the computer and get onto the Osteoporosis Canada website. They had lots of exercises, strength-building exercises, that she could do and hope, you know, that she didn't have to sit and cry in a corner, you know, that, that she wouldn't be able to do anything any more. After looking at the website, I felt that there was more hope here, but I still needed some help so, there is a kinesiologist here and so my mom and I both went to talk to her.

We explained the difficulties my mom was having; her falling, her trouble getting out of a car, and asked her for her advice. Some of our residents are hesitant to exercise because its not something they have ever done. However, once they get started they enjoy it and can see the benefits.

Mary is afraid of falling so I'm going to teach her a few exercises that challenge her balance and improve her strength. A curved spine, or exaggerated kyphosis, may lead to problems with balance because the weight of the upper body is pushed forward. Mary will learn an exercise to improve endurance of her back extensor muscles to help her stand straighter.

Meet Mary – A Woman in Her 90's at High Risk of Osteoporosis

We want to find exercises that are not so hard that she will fall but are hard enough that she has to concentrate to keep her balance. These exercises don't take long and can be done all at once or on alternating days. Doing them regularly makes Mary feel more confident and less fearful of falling. We also have a Tai Chi class that Mary can attend twice a week. Tai Chi is a great way to improve your balance. So my mother started to do the exercises that the kinesiologist recommended and she's just getting stronger every day.

I find her a great inspiration in my own life and I want to be like her, I want to be independent and I want to be strong, I want to be healthy and I owe my mom a lot. I feel good, feel good all over! Tired, sometimes, See, I've had nine children and I've had exercise. [laughter] Walking does the most for me. It gives me exercise, my body and my legs, but the biggest thing I like is hugs. [laughter].

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