Left to right: Jessica Baremore, physical therapist assistant; Berniece Lorenz; and Allison Nussbaum, occupational therapist

For nearly 80 years, Berniece Lorenz, 90, has played the organ at Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown, Missouri, but when she didn’t come to the door one Sunday morning, her neighbor knew something was wrong.


Lorenz had fallen and broken her right hip. A hospital stay and a few months at Life Care Center of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, followed. When she arrived on Oct. 4, 2017, her recovery started slowly because she wasn’t able to put any weight on her hip.


“She initially was non-weight-bearing, but when she was able to put weight on her hip, we did a lot of walking,” said Heather Gaines, physical therapist assistant.


Therapists also discovered that Lorenz had a leg length discrepancy, which is common after hip surgery, so her shoe was built up to make up for the difference.


“That really helped a lot, and it alleviated her back pain,” Gaines said. “We also worked a lot on strengthening and balance.”


Lorenz made quick strides once her therapy was in full swing. Speech therapy also helped with her dysphagia.


“They said I’m progressing very well,” Lorenz said. “I walk around the racetrack, and they said I walked really fast. My son said, ‘Mom, you won’t believe how far you’ve come from when you first came here.’”


Lorenz is certainly no stranger to hard work. Having lived on a farm all her life, she has worked in the fields, milked cows, taken care of livestock and raised three children. She is also full of spunk, and staff enjoyed her occasional wisecracks.


On Jan. 24, 2018, Lorenz successfully graduated from her rehab program and moved into an assisted living facility.