Martha Whaley with Shasta McAnally, physical therapist assistant, left, and Jesse Castillo, occupational therapist assistant

A fall on June 28, 2017, led 107-year-old Morristown, Tennessee, resident Martha Whaley to the hospital with a broken hip.


“We weren’t very optimistic about her prognosis as we went through this same thing five years ago with the other hip,” said Whaley’s daughter, Robin Andrews.


Whaley came to The Heritage Center in Morristown for rehab on July 3. She was unable to walk when she arrived and required total assistance with all of her mobility except for sitting, for which she still needed extensive assistance. She needed extensive assistance with self-care tasks as well, including grooming herself and getting dressed.


“After a few days of getting used to her new surroundings, she began to perk up and push forward to recovery,” said Andrews. “This was due to the excellent staff of nurses, certified nursing assistants and therapists at Heritage.”


Physical therapists met with her seven days a week. They started by using strengthening exercises for Whaley’s lower body until she was able to start standing and walking again. Then they focused on balance and endurance, as well as gait training. They also used electrical stimulation to ease the pain in her right hip. Eventually Whaley progressed to where she could get in and out of bed with minimal assistance, stand and walk with light assistance and wheel herself in her wheelchair with supervision.


The occupational therapy team met with her six days a week, retraining her in activities of daily living so that she could feed herself independently again and require minimal assistance with her grooming and dressing. They did functional exercises with her in addition to strengthening exercises for her upper body. Memory recall exercises helped her with daily tasks, and finally, they had her practice meal preparation.


“Martha baked her famous mouth-watering biscuits from scratch, which the entire rehab staff enjoyed,” said Karen Harrell, director of rehab.


“With the positive reinforcement, encouragement and persistence of these professionals at The Heritage Center, she is in better shape physically and mentally than she was before her fall,” said Andrews.


Whaley returned home on Sept. 1.