Stay Strong Therapy Program Benefits Residents with Parkinson’s

Like everything we do at The Maplewood, our Therapy Department continually looks for ways to improve the quality of life for our residents.

Some of our long term care residents have  Parkinson’s disease. Typically those with Parkinson’s see a progressive decline in both physical and cognitive abilities. This can result in safety risks such as an increase in falling down. It can also limit the ability to participate in activities they enjoy.

About 10 months ago we kicked off our Stay Strong program, which is specifically designed to help those with Parkinson’s Disease. The group meets three times a week to work on overall strength, flexibility, balance, posture, and cognitive stimulation and coordination. The goal is to maintain as much ability as possible.

We incorporate traditional exercise such as walking, stretching and weight lifting in combination with interest-based physical activities such as balloon toss, golf and boxing. We work on breathing and vocal exercises as well. And, we focus on the cognitive skills required to complete physical tasks and activities. Music is added to create a fun environment and helps stimulate coordination to the rhythm and beat.

To determine which people participate, I assess every resident with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. If I determine that the Stay Strong program is appropriate for them, I highly encourage them to join the group. There is no additional cost to residents who are a fit and choose to participate in the program.

So far, I am extremely pleased with the results of the program. For those that participate consistently, we are seeing less decline in functioning abilities and less falls. It’s exciting to see them benefitting and maintaining their highest possible level of activity.