92-year-old with Parkinson’s makes jewelry to calm tremors

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LUBBOCK, Texas — To every disability, there is always an ability, Serena Beaty, the engagement director for Vitality Living Shadow Hills, said Tuesday. One of her 92-year-old residents defied the odds following a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

Diagnosed over a decade ago, Marie Marr learned that jewelry making is one of the only activities that calms her tremors.

On her worst days dealing with the degenerative disease, Marr said she struggles to string even one bead.
On her best days, she makes masterpieces.

“When you don’t succeed, try, try again,” Marr said while unsuccessfully attempting to string a bracelet.

Despite the time it takes Marr to finish one piece of jewelry, she said she would not hesitate to start over if she did not like the finished piece.

Beaty introduced jewelry making to Marr more than six years ago during an art class.

“It helped calm her tremors. Of course, they weren’t as bad when she first began, but they continued to progress and get a little worse,” Beaty explained. “The effect of it, slowing her mind down, giving her the relaxation worked just right with her Parkinson’s.”

Marr said the mental aspect of her craft is not only easier than the physical aspect, but it’s also enjoyable.

“I don’t even want the TV on when I [make jewelry]. I want to think about what I’m doing,” Marr said with determination.

She explained that she sells to other residents and people in the community. Marr has also won several first-place ribbons from the South Plains Fair for her bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

While the process may be rewarding, Marr said her love for jewelry making is about the end results.

“I started this morning,” Marr explained, showing KLBK News the beginning of a bracelet before a tremor caused her to drop a bead on the floor.

When her tremors interrupt her passion, Marr said she might feel frustrated, but she refuses to give up.

“She’s a very strong-willed woman. I think she presents herself with her own challenges to see if she can do it and conquer it,” Beaty commented while sitting next to Marr, holding her shaking hand.

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