According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 60,000 people are diagnosed each year with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This is more than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease combined. By the year 2020, close to one million people in the United States will be living with this disorder.

PD is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nervous system and can develop slowly over many years. Those with the disease can lose control over body functions and motor skills like walking, speech and facial expressions. Other symptoms may include tremors, difficulty standing up, muscle stiffness, reduced range of motion, balance challenges and changes in speech, writing and even blinking. [Mayo Clinic].

There are promising treatments that aim to slow down the progression of the disease and improve daily life, including greater movement and great speech control.

woman assisting an older woman in a stretch pose

One highly regarded treatment, known as Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) LOUD and LSVT BIG, addresses the challenges of changing motor skills and communication. LSVT LOUD is an individualized treatment plan that helps people with speech issues resulting from PD and other nervous system disorders. The therapy focuses on speech modulation, articulation, swallowing and facial expressions, as well as other related modes of communication.

For those with PD who are experiencing motor challenges, LSVT BIG helps improve motor skills, including walking. According to CESLC Program Director of Therapy Services Ann Matesi, “LSVT BIG is a standardized treatment protocol that keeps your movement dynamic. You can use these techniques anywhere, anytime in daily living to empower you to keep moving and stay active.”

“I got certified as an LSVT BIG clinician because it is an outstanding treatment for Parkinson’s, CVA, MS, Dementia,” said Hebrew Home of Greater Washington Physical Therapy Assistant Bill Riley,   “This therapy helps improve walking with ‘Bigger Steps’, improves balance, increases trunk rotation, and improves  functional movement.”

Both LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD is therapeutic models, backed by evidence-based research, and part of a person-centered holistic treatment program. Over time, with intensity and repetition, participants gain control over daily activities, feel more confident and find greater enjoyment each day.

To learn more about the BIG and LOUD programs offered on our CESLC campus, contact our Post-Acute Care Center at Hebrew Home of Greater Washington at 301-770-8476.