Energized for Health

May 26, 2017 by Diane Thuna

“How’s your grow-op Grandma?” It’s a question not many 85-year olds are regularly asked but then again, Clara is not your average grandma!  Needle-sharp, lively and active, she still lives alone in her own home, volunteers regularly with her church, facilitates an Alzheimer’s caregivers’ support group, keeps her grandchildren well-supplied with home-baked goods, and enthusiastically maintains her large garden.

She’s also a familiar face in Trico’s gym. “I’ve been coming to Trico for the past three or four years now.” says Clara Recently, Clara underwent three major operations in a single year – one to replace a shoulder and one to replace each of her knees. “Coming to Trico Centre gets me motivated to walk and do the exercises I need to do.”

“As I walk around the track in the Fitness Centre, I think about my posture and remind myself to look up and around at the signs and people working out… not just down at my feet. I feel that I stand up straighter!” Clara’s hard work at Trico Centre has paid off; after each surgery her doctors have been pleased with how quickly she recovered. “People tell me how well I’ve done,” says Clara, a retired nurse, “but the fact is that I do all the exercises I’m given.” Clara was also healthy and independent before the operations, something she credits greatly to her “grow-op.”

“My garden is the reason my grandchildren tease me,” smiles Clara, her eyes lighting up as she speaks of her hobby. I start so many plants under lights in the winter. Gardening keeps me moving, lets me to visit with neighbours as they walk by and encourages me to eat nutritiously,” she enthuses, explaining that she plants vegetables like lettuce in amongst her flowers. It helped her in other ways during her recovery too. “Being out in the fresh air helps me sleep so much better,” she says, adding that this allowed her to lessen the medication she had to take during her recoveries.

One more thing keeps Clara happily busy – her volunteer work both with her church and with those dealing with dementia. With all this going on Clara admits that she does not have a whole lot of spare time. But she says no matter how full her life, she’ll always make time to come to Trico Centre. She remembers meeting Trico’s General Manager Brenda Smith quite soon after she became a member. That meeting sparked a friendship and Brenda will now often come to walk and chat with her when she’s in the gym. “To me she’s the spirit of Trico, my inspiration to keep moving,” says Clara. “Coming here gets me energized for my day and gives me the health I need for all my hobbies!”


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