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Participant Profile

Donna Gough, Dynamic Balance: Physical Activity, Now or Never

Physical exercise was never high on Donna Gough’s priority list. She had kept busy and active throughout the years raising her children, working in the home as well in corporate and retail settings, bowling and walking. She never dreamed that organized physical activity would become such an important part of her life at the age of 83!

In June 2009, Mrs. Gough joined the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA)’s Dynamic Balance class. Her daughter-in-law, Pauline Gough, a CCAA instructor had been encouraging her for about a year to get moving. But, Mrs. Gough was content and not particularly interested in increasing her physical activity level.

In the winter of 2008, Mrs. Gough had knee replacement surgery; the new knee should have enabled her to enjoy improved mobility. Unfortunately, her recovery was a long slow one and she did not seem to be improving as much as her family and doctors had expected she would. Finally, many months after the surgery, she began to heal and just as she was starting to get up and move around more, she fell and broke her wrist. To further complicate matters Mrs. Gough also has osteoporosis and for the past nine years has suffered from Non-Hodgkins’s Lymphoma.

In May 2009, Pauline accompanied her mother-in-law to a follow-up appointment with the knee surgeon. Pauline felt a sense of urgency in that she needed to get her mother-in-law moving or she would continue down the road of deterioration and never recover her strength and vigor for life. Pauline explained to the surgeon about the CCAA and the physical activity programs for older adults offered there. The surgeon agreed that Mrs. Gough’s participation in one of these programs would help her recovery and improve her mobility and confidence levels.

The surgeon and Pauline rallied together and finally convinced Mrs. Gough to join a physical activity program at the CCAA. Mrs. Gough is now 84-years-old and has been participating in the CCAA’s Dynamic Balance Class for almost a year. Since joining the program Pauline has seen a marked improvement in her mother-in-law’s mobility. Her gait has improved and she makes a conscious effort to stand straighter.

When asked, Mrs. Gough states that she enjoys coming to class and feels much better physically for having joined. She felt so good just four months after joining the CCAA that she was able to participate in the September 2009 ALS walk. A goal she would not have achieved just a few months earlier, had she not adopted a more physically active lifestyle with the help of the CCAA. Pauline is very proud of her mother-in-law and says that “she has persevered and is a good example to all who should attend CCAA as a lifestyle choice”.

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Clara Fitzgerald
Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging
Phone 519.661.1603
Fax 519.661.1612
Email: cfitzge4@uwo.ca

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