A year ago, John Martin was feeling some pain and stiffness in his back, which he understood is not unusual for an 84-year-old man. But that didn't make it acceptable.
He checked with his doctor, who diagnosed arthritis in his lumbar region and sought further evaluation through a bone density exam, which revealed osteoporosis in his left hip. His prescription was to enroll in Community Hospital's Comprehensive Osteoporosis Program, a curriculum designed to assess and address the needs of patients dealing with the effects of bone thinning through aging.
"It's a very positive program," says Martin. "It looked not at what I couldn't do, but at what I could and should do to be as safe and as mobile as possible. I worked with a physical therapist and met with an occupational therapist who gave me some very good pointers on how to get in and out of bed, and some cautions on lifting things and twisting and turning. She also gave me tips about home safety. As a result, I put some grab bars in my shower."
Martin also met with a clinical dietitian to assess his daily diet and possibly recommend additions or modifications intended to support bone health. Martin actually made the grade with his own menu plan, but he did add a prescription supplement that is designed to reduce bone loss and even helps restore bone mass in many patients.
"The program reassured me that, at this point, it's important to have a good diet and do daily exercises and not overdo things," says Martin. "I also learned how to be careful around the home and to recognize my limitations and live within them. As we go along in life, there's a point where we all peak and then begin to decline. As I go into my decline, I say, 'I can't do that anymore, but what's left that I can do?' And there always seems to be a whole lot left."