Garden Helps Stroke Victim Heal 

Produce Serves Several Purposes  

Libby Hardwick and Jody WeyandJody Weyand was a normally healthy 76-year-old woman until she suffered a stroke. She couldn’t get out of bed without help, and received inpatient treatment at Genesis-Bethesda Hospital. Part of her therapy was in the Genesis Community Garden planting potatoes, seeding radishes and pulling weeds. “It was such a nice change from being in a hospital room and being in bed,” said Jody, who spent 19 days in inpatient rehab. 

Back To the Flower Beds

Libby Hardwick, a recreational therapist at Genesis, combined gardening with Jody’s rehabilitation. “Gardening was an activity Jody had done before the stroke. The therapy helped her gain confidence, self esteem and return to normal daily routines,” Hardwick said.  

Produce Mixes with Diet  

Jody also had to adjust her diet after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes following the stroke. She learned to cook new types of vegetables from the garden, such as Kohlrabi, and enrolled in a diabetes class through the Genesis Diabetes and Nutrition Education department. “It took five teams to take care of me—occupational, physical, speech, and recreational therapy and nutrition,” she said, laughing. 

A Quick Recovery

Less than four months after her stroke, Jody walks at least 20 minutes twice a week. She credits the Genesis staff with her quick recovery. “Genesis has such caring employees. For them it’s not just a paycheck; they are here because they want to help someone,” Jody said. “Whether I was ‘dancing’ down the hall with the physical therapist or receiving help getting in and out of bed, I felt like I was the only patient they had. When I came to Genesis, I found a group of compassionate, knowledgeable caregivers and therapists who strengthened my weakened body and mind.

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