Getting back on your feet
Six months ago, Joe Sgroi had reached his lowest point. Having fallen in his kitchen and hit his head, the 78-year-old knew it was time to change his life.
“That wasn’t my first fall – I had been having up to five falls per day for about a year,” he said. “Luckily, I was never badly injured, but it was really starting to affect me physically and mentally.”
In 1997, the former tiler was diagnosed with spastic paresis, a degenerative condition caused by damage to the brain which impacts messages sent to the body’s lower motor neurons.
Grace Sgroi said her husband had undergone seven operations and endured a lot of pain as his condition worsened. It was a difficult time for them both, as there seemed no end in sight.
“He could no longer walk without losing balance, as he had lost feeling in his legs,” Mrs Sgroi said.
“I was afraid to leave him home alone in case he had a fall and needed help. I also had to shower and dress him, which made him feel he had lost his independence. We were both at breaking point.”
That’s when Silver Chain’s Allied Health Team came to their aid.
“We immediately identified that Joe needed help with his mobility and falls prevention,” Silver Chain physiotherapist Alicia Marriott said.
“When I met Joe in February, he had lost confidence, was depressed and was a very high falls risk due to his deteriorating spinal cord. His balance, posture and gait were poor, his legs weak and he clearly needed our help.”
Joe Sgroi and Alicia Marriott
Ms Marriott arranged a new walking frame for the North Perth resident, and from there, he was put on a strengthening program that helped transform his life.
“We implemented an exercise program that has helped to rebuild Joe,” she said.
“He practices sitting to standing, balance while standing, and improved posture and walking techniques.”
Six months on, Mr Sgroi has made significant progress and has found a new lease of life.
Twice-weekly visits from his therapy assistants and a fortnightly visit from Ms Marriott have helped Mr Sgroi become a new man – and one that no longer experiences falls.
“I do my exercises every day and I am motivated because I can see they are working,” he said.
“I can now shower without having to sit down, dress myself and cook for my wife again too.
“I have regained my confidence.”
Ms Marriott said it was rewarding to see the determined grandfather’s hard work paying off and urged those experiencing falls and mobility difficulty to seek help.“I have seen so much improvement in Joe and he has his spark back,” she said.
“Some people become scared to walk because they fear falling, so they get into a vicious cycle, but you will get up again if you are proactive and seek help.”
To find out how Silver Chain’s Allied Health Team can help you in your home, call (08) 9242 0347.
1 August 2019
Montana Ardon | Communications Officer
T 08 9208 8310 | E Montana.Ardon@silverchain.org.au
About Silver Chain Group
We are a not-for-profit organisation delivering community health and care services across Australia. We help people of all ages to receive the care they need to remain happy and healthy at home.
We have a proud history of serving Australians for over 110 years in Western Australia and more than 120 years as RDNS in South Australia. We currently deliver our services in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
With over 4,000 staff and 130 volunteers, we assist more than 100,000 people to remain living in their homes and community every year.
For more information, please see silverchain.org.au.