Life is Good with Occupational Therapy

Joe Cousins fixed lunch at the kitchen counter, did laundry, and made the bed. But he wasn’t at home. Instead, the 75-year-old Lexington man was at an occupational therapy session inside Lexington Medical Center Extended Care’s rehabilitation facility.

Joe received inpatient physical and occupational therapy there for a month.

The retired computer scientist has a neurological issue that affects his balance, and spine issues that cause pain and trouble walking. He also had knee replacement surgery earlier this year and went straight to Extended Care for inpatient therapy after surgery.

“I liked the intensity of being there full time,” Joe said. “When I arrived, I could barely move my feet. I had limited mobility and real balance problems. We worked hard.”

Clinicians worked with Joe six days a week for nearly a month.

“When Joe first came to us, he needed two people to help him stand and walk,” said Kate Abney, Joe’s occupational therapist at Extended Care. “And even with help, he could only walk to the door and back to the bed.”

Joe gained strength using machines in the facility’s state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym where therapists complimented his progress and applauded his milestones.

“He is a hard-working man, for sure. His improvement was miraculous,” Kate said.

While physical therapy tends to focus on helping patients recover from injuries by using exercise and other techniques, occupational therapy focuses on a patient’s day-to-day tasks in their home or work environments. Both are important to help patients get better and live life to the fullest.

Each day, Kate and Joe moved forward with new tasks to help ensure Joe could do activities that are part of his daily routine. That included work in a therapy “apartment” that offers a home-like environment where patients become comfortable performing household tasks. He enjoyed working in the kitchen there, perfecting an egg omelet with cheese, ham and vegetables.

“Sometimes you think, ‘What are they going to tell me that I don’t already know?’” Joe laughed. “But they make you think about how you’re going to do something before you do it and demonstrate that you can do it comfortably.”

Today, Joe is back at his Lexington County home. He navigates the space without a cane or walker. He also drives daily.

“He is fully independent,” Kate said. “It’s great to see his remarkable recovery.”

For more information about rehabilitation services at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care, visit

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