Steady Steps to Success
Another day, another…ache? Unfortunately, daily pain becomes more common as we age, and many ELIM residents are carrying around their own tales of struggle and discomfort. Cleci Blauth, an Independent Living (IL) resident at Elim Village Fleetwood, wanted to get rid of this painful weight on her shoulders—quite literally. So, she put in the work and is now reaping the rewards! Here’s how she did it.
In the summer of 2021, less than two years before Cleci and her husband Geraldo moved into ELIM, she experienced a fall, which resulted in a broken left arm. In agonizing pain, Cleci reached out to friends for support. As they prayed over her, she instantly felt relief in her broken arm…only to wake up the next day with excruciating pain in her opposite shoulder! Immobilized by her broken arm and now unable to raise the other, Cleci turned to Geraldo for help with the simplest tasks. Even after her broken arm healed, the pain and stiffness in her right shoulder only became worse.
It wasn’t until the Blauths moved to ELIM in March of 2023 that Cleci reached a turning point. After a month of settling into her new apartment, she learned about the Fleetwood walking club, the ELIM Go-Getters. “I haven’t always been an active person, and I don’t enjoy going to the gym,” she shares, “but if I have the opportunity to be outside, why not? Being outside is very important.” Before each walk the club embarks on, a warm-up session is led by Suman, the Wellness Assistant for Community Life. Motivated by Suman’s words to stretch gently but persistently, Cleci embarked on a journey to relieve her pain. And step by step, with the aid of a walking pole, she did just that.
An IL resident & staff member enjoy a walk around the Fleetwood campus
Within a month of stretching and walking more frequently, Cleci was celebrating a milestone she didn’t think was possible: lifting her right arm up past her shoulder! It is a triumph that was not solely achieved through stretching and using a walking pole, but also Cleci’s commitment and determination. But, how exactly did she stay committed when it’s so much easier to lay on the sofa, take ibuprofen, or just accept that pain comes with old age?
“Always have a destination,” Cleci shares. Armed with maps from the walking club, Cleci was able to create personal goals and explore the incredible, hidden trails woven throughout the Fleetwood community. Starting with the modest goal of 3,000 steps a day, Cleci soon accomplished 10,000 steps a day. “I slowly made that progression,” she adds. Whether it’s getting in her steps by walking to the local Dollarama or enjoying a scenic walk through a park, Cleci recognizes the value of consistency.
Another habit that helps Cleci stay committed is completing the tracking sheets provided by the ELIM Go-Getters, as well as ELIM’s outdoor challenge. Recording her walks and time spent outdoors offers a tangible sense of accomplishment. “For me, these tracking sheets are a compliment to look at,” she muses.
Cleci not only experiences physical benefits from her efforts, but she has discovered a newfound connection to nature too. During her walks, Cleci marvels at flowers, captures photos, and finds solace in moments of reflection and prayer. “It’s not only physical,” she explains, “the walking club has changed my mental and spiritual way of life too.” Lastly, her journey was fortified by the inspiration she gleaned from others in the community, such as Independent Living resident, Laurel McAllister. Cleci admires her commitment to walking, which inspires her own efforts.
To those wrestling with their own pain, “take everything step by step,” says Cleci. “Don’t be ashamed of your pain, just do it,” she adds, regarding walking and stretching, “time waits for no one…the opportunities are here, so enjoy them!”
Cleci’s story illustrates the possibilities that lie within every step. It’s a reminder that pain can be a catalyst for growth, a chance to reflect, and an opportunity to make positive lifestyle choices that will help you physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Written by Rachel Hoffos, Staff Contributor
This article was featured in the 2023 summer edition of The Elim Connection (page 12)—a community publication distributed three times per year to all residents of Elim Village. It is also shared with our email subscribers. The Elim Connection focuses on the stories and lifestyle of those living and aging in place at our two retirement communities.
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