May 9, 2012, 11:16 a.m.
At age 93, Gene Henaby knows a thing or two about perseverance.
Gene’s story provides a wonderful example of pursuing the dream of many seniors – that of maintaining independence. She lives by herself in her own home and still volunteers around town. In this day and age when many live to 100 and beyond, these facts alone may not seem so remarkable. But consider the fact that over two years ago Gene fell off the steps of her front porch and broke her hip.
“It was a dark and rainy morning and I lost my balance while getting the newspaper,” says Gene. Determined, this amazing woman crawled up the porch steps, got inside the house and scooted across the floor on a rug to call 9-1-1. She had emergency hip replacement surgery and three days later was at Foss Home and Village.
Coming to Foss was no accident. “Gene has volunteered for decades at Foss, providing leadership at rummage sales, pie socials and mailing parties,” says Erin Mullins, Director of Outreach & Partnership Cultivation. Gene and her late husband Bill, in addition to raising two sons, devoted their lives to giving back to the community. They served at the Salvation Army, the Greenwood Senior Center, and volunteered at Foss. Because of her time with Foss, Gene knew they had an excellent reputation for rehabilitation.
For many people, going directly home after a hospital stay is not an option—if you live alone, have difficulty negotiating stairs, or need intensive rehabilitation, for example—a short term stay at a facility is often your best bet. The goal of short term rehab is getting the client back home as quickly and as independently as possible.
“I spent 17 days working hard with therapists, who educated and encouraged me during workouts,” says Gene of her time at Foss. She was able to return home with the assistance of a walker, and shortly thereafter progressed to using only a cane. She continues to live in her own home.
Trudymarie Devilla, Director of Rehab Services at Foss, says that rehab clients will see specialists on a daily basis – physical, occupational and speech therapy as needed. “We perform a variety of assessments related to home safety, cognition and medication management and tailor programs to help clients become independent again,” she explains.
According to Foss Physical Therapist Dottie Nelson, the therapists get to know their client’s whole story. The therapeutic programs are catered to the individual and incorporate the client’s interests.
“If they are a scrap-booker or a gardener, we’ll work with them so they can enjoy that activity again. We can also incorporate their favorite music while we’re working with them.”
In April, Foss opened their brand new rehab gym, the Andrea King Rehabilitation Center. “Andrea was a volunteer at Foss for over 40 years,” says Erin Mullins. “She was a beloved supporter and her family honored her legacy with a gift to Foss that enabled us to remodel our gym.”
With the remodel and Foss’ new partnership with Consonus Healthcare comes the addition of a leading-edge virtual rehab program. “Foss is one of a handful in the Seattle area with this technology,” reports Lisa Moore, Regional Director of Operations for Accelerated Care Plus. “If you’re out there looking for some of the best rehab technology, this fits the bill.” The program is somewhat like Wii or Xbox Kinect but far more sophisticated. “It is the world’s first 3-D virtual rehab system designed specifically for aging adults needing physical rehabilitation,” she explains. “Therapists can manipulate the programs to meet most all individual circumstances, such as if one arm has a greater range of motion than the other. And to the client it seems like a game – it’s fun! This system revolutionizes physical and occupational rehab,” she adds.
Trudymarie summarizes Foss’ approach. “It is very integrated here. I’ve been in the field for a long time and I really appreciate the high quality therapists I work with here. We have excellent outcomes and provide great care.”
Gene Henaby couldn’t agree more. “I am glad to get up every morning,” says Gene. She continues to center her life around family and community. She also finds history to be one of the great gifts of age… “to be part of a generation who has seen so much.” Gene’s enthusiasm for life is delightful.
Foss Home and Village is located at 13023 Greenwood Ave. N. in Seattle. For more information, visit www.fosscare.org or call 206-364-1300.
This article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Northwest Prime Time, the Puget Sound region’s monthly publication celebrating life after 50.