Posted by Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook on 07/12/2016

Walking Strong

Walking Strong

Minas Balaskas is strong. Following a battery of surgeries for various health issues, Minas was violently attacked and mugged. His leg was broken during the attack, and doctors told him he might never walk again. But he remained strong. Now, following intensive rehabilitation at FutureCare Canton Harbor, he is walking once again.

FutureCare Health operates 13 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers across the Baltimore-Washington area and provides both short and long-term care. VitalStrong, FutureCare’s short-stay rehabilitation program, offers comprehensive services to help patients get back on their feet following surgery, a traumatic incident or a serious illness.

Minas immigrated to the United States from Greece at 19 years old. He settled in Missouri near his family and spent much of his life working in the restaurant industry. He had four sons, who all moved back to Greece to attend high school and have settled there. They now visit the U.S. every summer.

Minas continued to live in Missouri until he started to experience some health problems. He relocated to Baltimore to receive the world-class care available at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Many of his family members, including his mother and his sister, also live in the area. Since moving, Minas has had two heart surgeries, a kidney transplant and two hip replacements.

Unfortunately, after finally recovering from all his surgeries, Minas was brutally attacked. “I was at the bus stop and a man came up and hit me in the leg and mugged me. He split my bone,” he recalled. “The doctor told me that the best place I could be was FutureCare, so I could stay here and get all the physical therapy I needed.”

The doctor also told Minas that he might not ever walk again. “I was worried when I first came here,” he admitted. “After about two months here, my muscles were so much stronger, and I knew I was going to be able to walk again.”

Minas lived at FutureCare Canton Harbor for two months to participate in the VitalStrong program. The primary goal of VitalStrong is to transition patients back to independence. The program includes clinical oversight provided by a physiatrist, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as treatment by a team of experts and licensed therapists. VitalStrong has four major components: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Orthopedic Rehabilitation, and a Comprehensive Amputee Management Program. Minas participated in the Orthopedic Rehabilitation program, also known as WALKStrong.

Moving to FutureCare Canton Harbor was easy for Minas largely because it is located just minutes from his long-time apartment. Situated in the heart of Baltimore, FutureCare Canton Harbor offers breathtaking waterfront views, a state-of-the-art facility, and a full scope of short-stay rehabilitation options.

“My treatments here were nice,” Minas said. “This was a great place to live. I always felt so comfortable, and everybody is so friendly. It really is like a family here.”

After two months at FutureCare Canton Harbor, Minas transitioned back to his home. He has been living independently in his apartment for almost a year now. “It was challenging at first, but it got better and better. Today, it’s perfect; I’m walking just like a normal guy,” Minas concluded.

With his recovery complete, Minas can now enjoy one of his favorite pastimes: walking. He loves going to the park with his nephews and walking around his beloved neighborhood with his many family members who live nearby.

Minas Balaskas may not be a body builder or a professional athlete, but he is undeniably strong. And he will undoubtedly be walking strong for many years to come.

By Christy Brudin


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