By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: Doctor Marion,

My 92 year-old grandmother currently resides in a nursing home. We are fortunate enough to see her once a month or so, and she appears to be doing well. Sometimes in fact, she's doing so well that she moves very quickly and as a matter of fact, slipped not too long ago and fractured her collarbone. Is there anything we can do to continue encouraging her independence while safely restricting her speedy movement? Cari in Kentucky, 47

ANSWER: I applaud your encouraging her independence, Cari. She may need the guidance of an occupational therapist and/or a physical therapist so that her balance and equilibrium can be improved. Appropriate exercise for her age and physical condition may also help with her coordination.

When muscles are built up, we have strength and are better able to maintain balance. Breathing exercises also help with concentration. Plus, deep breathing exercises bring more oxygen to the brain and blood stream so that your mother can stay alert and be more aware of her surroundings. All of this needs to be done under the guidance of her primary physician, of course.

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