Left to right: Lisa Palen, occupational therapist; Mary Ann Armstrong; and Anna White, physical therapist assistant

Hard work has gotten 90-year-old retired elementary school teacher Mary Ann Armstrong back home after a bout with pneumonia.


“I was really sick,” remembered Armstrong.


She was very weak and on supplemental oxygen when she arrived at Life Care Center of Cleveland, Tennessee, for rehabilitation and had difficulty even sitting on her own for a while.


“We had to work a lot on her endurance – sitting up, getting out of bed,” shared Lisa Palen, occupational therapist.


Palen and Anna White, physical therapist assistant, encouraged Armstrong to participate in her therapy as fully as possible, while understanding that some days were better than others. Armstrong also dealt with pleurisy, an inflammation of the tissues around her lungs, which made movement more difficult at times.


While the nursing team at Life Care helped Armstrong with her medical needs, the therapists continued to help her progress toward her goal of returning home to her son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Brenda Armstrong. Throughout her time at the skilled nursing and rehab center, her family supported her well.


Now, Armstrong has weaned off the oxygen, only using it as needed instead of constantly. She can walk up to 130 feet at a time, enough to get around the house, and take care of her own self-care tasks, like getting dressed, brushing her hair and bathing.


On May 25, 2018, Armstrong reached her goal of returning home with home health services. 

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