Dolores Wilson knows what it’s like to fall down and get back up again. It’s happened to her so many times that she’s lost count.
“I’ve fallen in my home,” she said. “My legs have collapsed at Boscov’s. I’ve fallen at few times at my daughter’s. I hit my head on the bathtub one time. My daughter was very worried; she was constantly calling the EMTs.”
Her frequent falls ultimately landed Dolores in the hospital, and following that in rehabilitation at Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC). She and her late husband were both treated at various times by the SGLC rehab team: Nicole Goodson, MSCCC-SLPTPM, Amanda Watroba, DPT, and Alyssa Buterick, MSOTR/I.
“We really loved each other before COVID but we all adopted each other during COVID,” said Nicole, who was Dolores’ speech therapist. “We really bonded with Dolores. She’s like our grandmother. When the families couldn’t come and visit, we became the families.”
The close-knit feeling is mutual. “I’ve been in several rehabs and there’s no comparison,” said Dolores. “They couldn’t be nicer or more encouraging. When I told Amanda that I didn’t walk as much as I should, she would say, ‘you did walk—and that counts.’ We would walk in the hall and count the ceiling squares together. Amanda would have the wheelchair in case I had to sit down. This was something that I had to do of course but I really enjoyed our sessions.”
Dolores came to SGLC for occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy. She had a fractured shoulder and radial nerve palsy (a wrist drop) from her falls. “Our primary goal was to restore the nerve,” said Nicole. “Importantly, we don’t just treat the injury or the illness or the deficit. Our job is to look at the person holistically and figure out how to restore his or her dignity.”
The team worked with Dolores on making sure she could feed herself. They helped her write letters to friends. They worked on memory and hearing.
“Alyssa was my OT girl,” said Doris. “I have arthritis in my hand and she put cream on it and massaged it. She gave me different things to do such as games. I had a big spoon and had to move marbles from one pan to another. Then Amanda would massage my legs and do stretching exercises before we went walking. Nicole helped me work with my hand so I could hold a fork and a spoon. I wanted to progress a little more each day and they helped me do that.”
“Doris is a good candidate for rehab because she’s motivated and wants to get better,” said Nicole. “She’s really such a sweet person, and during Covid, we had the opportunity to get to know her.”
“Our patients are what helps us get through these hard times,” said Alyssa. “They are truly family.”