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The Right Moves: Mary Stewart

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Mary Stewart is pictured in the Springhill Dining Room.

Springhill resident Mary Stewart is not a sitter. A lover of the outdoors, Mary has hiked in state parks near the various cities she has called home and as far afield as England, Scotland and Spain.

But poor joint structure meant that by her 70s, she had already had two knee replacements and was facing a second hip replacement. Having recently moved back to Erie, Pa., to be near her siblings, Mary was faced with a challenging decision. Join her sister in a new house being built on the family’s property or find a place that would provide the convenience and support to help her stay active and independent despite her mobility issues.

She chose Springhill and soon began working with Laurie Dart to prepare for her hip surgery. She began a series of pre-surgery exercises under the supervision of Springhill’s physical therapy team. (See Laurie's 3 Keys to Joint Replacement Surgery Success blog post.)

“Mary is really the poster child for how to prepare for elective surgeries,” Laurie says. “She had her bag packed for the hospital and for her rehab stay afterward. She had her Kindle loaded with books she wanted to read. And most importantly, she focused on what the surgery would improve more than the challenges it would bring.”

Though Mary says the pull to live with her sister was strong, she talked to her medical team prior to surgery about the reality of that – multiple levels, a large uneven yard, home maintenance.  “They told me that wouldn’t work well for me, and I had to acknowledge that they were right,” Mary says.

The decision to move to an apartment at Springhill, where she enjoys a “lovely view” from her balcony and participates in yoga classes, also brought what she calls the most important step to preparing well for surgery – an experienced advocate.

Having spent her career in hospitals, both on the clinical and administrative sides, Mary knew how important that was. “You need to have a plan in place for when you are discharged, but you also need to have an advocate who understands what your goals are and what it takes to get you there,” she says. “You’re really not in shape to advocate for yourself coming out of surgery.”