Parkinson’s Therapy Programs helps residents at Chestnut Knoll

Is it Parkinson’s disease or is it something else? Over 1 million people are living with Parkinson’s disease; but tremors, rigid muscles, shuffling walk or vocal changes could indicate other movement disorders. Though many disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, have no cure, treatments are available to help cope with or reduce symptoms.

The goal of treatment at Chestnut Knoll Personal Care and Memory Care in Boyertown is to take a proactive approach to care, rather than a reactive approach.

“A proactive approach allows residents living with a movement disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease, to maintain their functional abilities and slow the disease’s progression,” said Dr. Andrew Harnish, rehab director of the FOX Optimal Living program at Chestnut Knoll.

Chestnut Knoll provides all residents with access to state-of-the-art therapy programs in collaboration with FOX Rehabilitation, which provides an evidence-based continuum of wellness and rehab services.

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Robert “Skip” Trainer, a resident of Chestnut Knoll, has received therapy to help manage his symptoms of Parkinson’s disease since 2011.

“I try to exercise and keep going even when I don’t want to,” said Skip. “Living with this disease it tough! But, Andrew Harnish and the staff at Chestnut Knoll provide me with encouragement.”

His determination doesn’t just come from within or by the support of staff members. His number one motivator is to stay living with his wife of 69 years, Louise.

“I cannot imagine a day without living with her,” said Skip. “When I feel tired and want to quit, I just think about her, and I get going again.”

Skip has participated in a variety of occupational, physical and speech therapies. His occupational therapy helped him regain his ability to complete activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing and dressing.

He has received modified physical therapy and speech therapy programs, called LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD, which is an evidence-based treatment for Parkinson’s disease. These therapy programs help overcome some of the challenges associated with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as small and slow movements; decreased balance, walking speed and tone of speech; and difficulty swallowing.

“The ongoing therapy services, in combination with Skip’s hard work and motivation, have allowed him to graciously and successfully age in place with his wife and increase his quality of life,” said Harnish. “He has avoided having to transition to a higher level of care over the past seven years and has been able to take full advantage of all of the wellness offerings at Chestnut Knoll.”

Skip continues to participate in physical therapy for maintenance to prolong his capabilities and prevent further decline due to Parkinson’s disease.

For more information on Chestnut Knoll Personal Care, Memory Care, or At Home Services, please call Jodie Daniels, assistant executive director, at 610-473-8066 or visit www.chestnutknoll.com.