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How Does Outpatient Therapy Help with Parkinson’s Disease?

senior man in outpatient therapy

If you or your loved one is coping with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, you want to do everything in your power to help manage symptoms and maintain independence as the disease progresses. Although there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, taking a proactive approach with outpatient therapy and rehabilitation can help maintain function and improve quality of life. Therapy for Parkinson’s disease is designed to help individuals gain confidence and a sense of control over the changes happening as a result of the condition.

Recognizing Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects movement, coordination and balance. The condition is caused by the loss of dopamine, a brain chemical that controls movement. The classic signs are trembling in the hands, arms, legs or face; rigid muscles; balance problems; or slowed movement. People with Parkinson’s disease often benefit from outpatient therapy such as physical, occupational and speech therapies to help with symptoms.

Benefits of Outpatient Therapy for Parkinson’s

Outpatient therapy helps people with Parkinson’s disease improve mobility and practice performing tasks safely, such as getting up from a chair, getting in and out of a car or bus, climbing stairs, etc. Physical, occupational and speech therapies help individuals maintain their independence by also working on solutions for common problems such as difficulty swallowing, voice issues and activities of daily living.

Physical therapy is an important part of a treatment plan for Parkinson’s, with a focus on exercises that help with movement, balance and stability. Physical therapists design individualized programs based on a person’s strength, endurance, range of motion, gait and sensory deficits. Targeted exercises help strengthen muscles for walking, standing and other activities. Physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease can help with improving mobility, decreasing falls and reducing pain.

Occupational therapy tailored to help people with Parkinson’s focuses on activities of daily living and learning to use adaptive equipment, if needed. Occupational therapists help people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders learn ways to compensate for changes in motor function, such as using utensils and tools with larger handles and installing grab bars in bathrooms for safety. Occupational therapy for Parkison’s disease is focused on performing everyday tasks such as mobility and walking, personal care, and daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, writing, etc.

Speech therapy is helpful in addressing specific problems caused by Parkinson’s disease that affect communication, swallowing and cognitive skills. Poor muscle activation and a change in sensory processing due to Parkinson’s can lead to problems with speech, including a person’s voice becoming softer and harder to understand. Speech-language pathologists work on exercises to help with volume and clarity when speaking and improving the ability to swallow.

We Offer Specialized Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

At the Village Outpatient Therapy clinic, our highly trained therapists understand the challenges faced by older adults with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. Our certified a team of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy professionals provide specialized LSVT BIG® and LSVT LOUD® therapies in personal, one-on-one appointments where you are their sole focus. The national, evidence-based LSVT programs use vocal and movement exercises to help improve quality of life for patients living at John Knox Village as well as patients in Eastern Jackson County and beyond.

LSVT BIG® Movement Therapies combines physical and occupational therapy, emphasizing larger movements to:

  • Improve walking speed and cadence
  • Decrease risk of falling (better balance)
  • Improve foot clearance (reduce shuffling)
  • Enhance posture
  • Aid in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) with greater ease

LSVT LOUD® Speech Therapy is a speech therapy program focusing on:

  • Greater vocal volume and projection
  • Increased speech clarity
  • Improvement of facial expressions
  • Variation and calibration of speech

Both therapies are covered by Medicare Part B and most private health insurance plans. A physician referral is required.

Making a Difference for People with Parkinson’s

If you or a loved one would benefit from outpatient therapy for Parkinson’s disease, we encourage you to learn more about Village Outpatient Therapy’s specialized programs at John Knox Village. These programs are available to John Knox Village residents as well as people who live in the surrounding metro area. Our life plan community in Kansas City, MO, offers personalized outpatient therapy and quality care from a multidisciplinary team of physical, occupational and speech therapists. Contact us today to learn more.

Please join us: We’re hosting a special Gala event this fall to raise awareness and gain support for our specialty programs. Proceeds will go to support the expansion of our outpatient therapy program.