LIMA — With its symptoms of stiffness, tremors and speech difficulties, Parkinson’s Disease can grind life to a halt. However, while treatment options are available, a Lima facility is now the first in the area to offer a more comprehensive approach to help the lives of patients move forward once again.
LSVT BIG, along with LSVT LOUD, are training regimens for those suffering from Parkinson’s, strokes and similar neurological conditions, helping participants become more deliberate in exaggerating their movements and speech. This counters the quiet, mumbled speech and slow, shuffling movements associated with the disease.
Liberty Retirement Community of Lima is now offering both the BIG and LOUD treatments, a first for the area, according to Liberty Admissions and Marketing Director Michael Johnson.
“Several places will do just the BIG,” he said. “But we do both, and we have two people here who have Parkinson’s whom we are treating with both aspects.”
Kendra Boyer is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant who serves as the Therapy Program Manager at Liberty. In outlining the LSVT BIG and LOUD programs, she said that the goal is to work toward big movements and loud speech, as the name implies, recalibrating the brain to understand that what it considers to be exaggerated actions and speech are what to an outside observer would look normal.
“This improves vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box and speech mechanisms through exercises,” she said. “When we’re doing our exercises, we make them count loud, and if I can’t hear them, I cue them to speak louder. We’re incorporating both.”
These treatments are most effective, Boyer said, when the disease is in its early stages, but the treatment can be tailored to also work with those in later stages. Boyer and Johnson emphasized that these treatments are not a cure for the disease, but they can extend function and foster a greater quality of life.
“For the time they are here, it will make the quality of that time much better,” Johnson said. “A woman will be able to tell her grandkids she loves them and they’ll be able to hear and understand.”
The program has been underway at Liberty for two weeks, and it is available on an outpatient basis as well as to Liberty residents.
“This is something that both Medicare and Medicaid cover, whether it’s managed care or traditional,” Johnson said. “One of the reasons is that it’s largely a preventative measure.”
To learn more about the program and inquire about participation, contact Johnson at 419-331-2273.