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Seniors walk to raise awareness, spread hope for arthritis

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and residents at Buckner Villas are practicing the anthem “motion is lotion” as they raise awareness and funds to fight the disease.

Each May, the North Austin senior living community hosts a community walk around the campus to raise awareness for arthritis, encouraging residents to walk however far they would like. Wellness director Holly Jones also provides a wide array of opportunities for residents to be physically active throughout the week, all to help reduce the effects of arthritis and boost overall life satisfaction.

“’Motion is lotion’ is a common phrase doctors use when talking with people who have arthritis about how to manage pain and stiffness,” Jones said. “The more people move, the more synovial fluid is distributed around the joints, which eases movement throughout the day. I love helping residents find ways to move so they can feel great and live as actively as possible.”

Arthritis is the nation’s number one cause of disability, affecting more than 50 million Americans each year. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children and countless families are affected by the disease. At this year’s walk, Buckner Villas residents, family and staff collected more than $1,200 for the foundation.

“The Arthritis Foundation does a lot for people,” said Audrey Tope, who has participated in the community walk every year since becoming a Buckner Villas resident four years ago. “Walking helps me feel good both physically and emotionally. It’s hard for me to go long distances now, but I made it a goal to walk at least a mile the day of the walk.”

Audrey used to walk two miles each day until she was diagnosed with arthritis 10 years ago. The arthritis now forces her to take frequent breaks when she walks, but she doesn’t let that affect her everyday life.

“I just think we need to raise awareness, because nine times out of ten people’s problems are caused by arthritis,” Audrey said. “I’m lucky if I can walk two or three times a week, but it’s my pain that keeps me going. It’s easy to sleep in until 10 a.m. and not get up to go work out, but I know that if I stop now it won’t get better.”

“We have several residents who are impacted by this condition, and we want to do all we can to get them involved, engaged and active,” Jones said. “Having the arthritis walk in our own backyard allows anyone to come out. We’re blessed to host this event for the residents, and we’re proud to partner with the Arthritis Foundation to help fund arthritis research.”

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