Inspīr’s Parkinson’s Disease Care

BY: 

INSPĪR SENIOR LIVING TEAM

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is overwhelming not only for the person diagnosed but also for family and caregivers. There are many questions, lots of anxiety, and plenty of stress associated with a diagnosis. To put everyone at ease, at Inspīr, we provide custom-curated Parkinson’s care that fits and fulfills specific needs and enhances the quality of life for our residents living with PD.  

While we are still developing aspects of our Parkinson’s Disease Care Program, we are highlighting some of our partnerships below to give you a taste of what is to come.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) Big and Loud Program

LSVT is broken up into two different components: BIG and LOUD. The BIG portion helps people with PD to learn how to use their bodies more normally. Somer Meyers, physical therapist with SPEAR Physical Therapy, will be working with our residents on the BIG aspect of the program. Somer told us that the “BIG” aspect targets the sensorimotor systems. Essentially, LSVT BIG is a four-week protocol where the individual attends hourly sessions, four days per week, for four weeks. In these sessions, residents will perform repetitive movements that focus on very large amplitude movements (hence the name BIG) that have been extensively researched and are shown to be incredibly effective. 

Doing these large amplitude movements helps with balance, stability, the ability to rotate, normalizing gait patterns, and the ability to do everyday tasks such as dressing and transferring in and out of chairs, cars, etc. These are especially important for those with PD as they typically present with shuffling gait, freezing episodes, and have major difficulties with performing large amplitude movements. After a round of LSVT BIG treatment, the individual can expect to have better movement quality, balance, and stability, and improvement in overall ability and ease of daily motions such as dressing and getting up and down from chairs. 

The LOUD portion of the program focuses on speech. Nicole Dobranski, speech therapist and Founder at SpeechRise, will be working with our team at Inspīr to execute the LOUD aspect of this treatment. According to Nicole, the “LOUD” part is for people with Parkinson’s looking to improve their voice. She told us, “Those who go through the program show improvements in loudness, variation in pitch while speaking, articulation, improved facial expression when speaking, changes in swallowing, and even speech-related brain changes.” Nicole will also focus on increasing vocal loudness and delivering the treatment in an intensive, high-effort manner. She added, “What I love about the program is that it keeps people highly engaged, not only with frequent treatment sessions but also with daily assignments for practicing newly learned skills.”

Fitness 

When someone has PD, they need help to improve mobility and stability, increase strength and endurance, and flexibility. Using a variety of fitness routines, our team will work with each resident to empower them to gain more independence. Residents will be doing aquatic exercises in our saltwater pool in partnership with Iowa Sports. Strength training will be held in partnership with Iowa Sports, Namaste Wellness, and SPEAR Physical Therapy. Fitness will also include non-contact boxing, which builds agility, speed, muscular endurance, and hand-eye coordination along with other things.

Aromatherapy

To help residents relax and take a step back from the worry of the disease, Julie Wald, Inspīr’s Wellness Director and Founder at Namaste Wellness (one of our integrative partners), will use aromatherapy.

Julie told us that preliminary research shows that aromatherapy decreases stress as well as the levels of cortisol in the body, otherwise known as the “stress hormone,” and enhances overall well-being. Aromatherapy acts as “lifestyle medicine,” and when infused into daily routines and rituals, not only does it decrease stress, it improves the quality of life and connects us with the healing power of nature. We can infuse a room with the nurturing scent of a specific essential oil or combine aromatherapy with other stress relief practices such as hand and foot massage (by blending an unscented cream or oil with a relaxing essential oil), mindfulness, and gentle stretching or movement practices.”

Mindfulness and Meditation

Residents will also have access to Namaste’s mindfulness and meditation. Julie elaborated on the two for us: “Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, with gentle, non-judgmental awareness. This enables us to be less anxious, less overwhelmed, and more compassionate with ourselves and others. As research suggests, mindfulness can also improve attention, awareness, and the ability to see difficult feelings as something that will pass. Integrating mindfulness and meditation into both the resident and caregiver experience at Inspīr will decrease stress and elevate the mood and daily experience—fostering residents who are building internal resources despite their challenges, as well as patient, compassionate caregivers with tools to support themselves.”

Culinary

For residents and their guests, we have created our Petit Gourmet menu (“tiny bites” menu). Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease along with dementia-related illnesses and stroke can often impact a resident’s ability to enjoy mealtime as they once may have. At Inspīr, we want to ensure that every meal is an enjoyable and independent experience. Our Petit Gourmet menu, created by Executive Chef Giovanni Maffei, will serve that particular purpose. These smaller bites and handheld options can allow for all of Chef’s favorites to be yours, without any worry. 

Medication Management 

The goal for medication management for someone with Parkinson’s disease is to maintain their quality of life, maintain/improve mobility, and decrease rigidity. According to Senior Director of Integrated Care, Marijo Smith, “The most critical issue with medication management is to ensure that medications are administered timely to maintain a therapeutic level and avoid exacerbation of the disease. The pharmacy will review medications for drug interactions regularly, and we will monitor for side effects of the medications. The care team will work closely and always maintain communication with the resident’s provider of choice to ensure continuity of care between all providers, including the resident’s primary care physician.”

At Inspīr, our holistic, personalized, and integrative approach to health and wellness combines evidence-based complementary modalities that nurture mind, body, and spirit with a highly skilled interdisciplinary team of professionals and caregivers who are laser-focused on achieving optimal well-being for each resident. 

To help guide you and your loved one through a diagnosis, we have created a complimentary Parkinson’s Disease Guide with helpful information and resources. To view our guide online, please click here. Our knowledgeable and professional team at Inspīr is also available to walk you through the benefits of living in our residence.