2012 FPAD Marjorie Franck - 3rd PlaceMarjorie Franck
Greenville, North Carolina

After a series of falls and a partial hip replacement, Marjorie Franck had a goal: to line dance again.

Weeks of rehabilitation and targeted exercise helped Marjorie go from using a walker to walking unassisted in about a year. Now she’s part of a regular senior exercise class and travels often with her husband in an RV, just as they did before a serious fall in November 2010. And she line danced again at an RV rally, doing all the steps.

“My life is much better now,” says Marjorie, a semi-retired tax preparer. “It would be so easy to limit what I did. It would be so easy not to exercise but to stay at home. It would be so easy to let someone else take care of me. But I don’t want to be dependent.”

She credits two physical therapists, Drs. Leslie Allison and Sarah Johnson, and East Carolina University’s Fall Risk Assessment Clinic with giving her tools to be successful. A health care team evaluated Franck’s risk of falls and, in one appointment, gave her personalized recommendations to avoid falls. “They gave me specific things to do each week,” Franck said. “It made all the difference.”

Sometimes the exercises were hard and sometimes they hurt. Sometimes the routine was inconvenient, especially during the busy tax season. But she persevered. She has seen others with illness or injury physically decline when they stopped moving. At 76, she said she does not want to spend the next 20 years of her life afraid to go out, or having to take someone’s arm for support when she walks.

“People who fall have to want to not fall, and they have to do whatever it takes to get there,” Franck said.

She took A Matter of Balance course. She has also installed a railing down the back steps of her home, and she never walks down the steps without one hand free. She keeps up with her exercise on RV trips too. “I’m not going to climb mountains, but I can walk anywhere we go,” she said. “It’s wonderful because we travel two to three months out of the year.”

Interview by Crystal Baity, East Carolina University News Services.