Occupational Therapy and Aging

Productive Aging and Independence

As we age, there is a fear that we will become dependent on others. We are fiercely independent creatures and requiring assistance from others can make us feel invalid. Occupational therapists (OT’s) specialize in supporting a person’s ability to remain as independent as possible. As an OT working in the outpatient setting in Boerne, TX,  Jennica Colvin states, “many of my clients come to me because they are doing fairly well, but know they can do better.  Clients want to do better in order to prevent falls and dependency on others.”

How Can an OT Support You?

OT’s evaluate a person’s level of dependency upon others and then selects a treatment plan to help that person become more independent. During the evaluation process, an OT will ask how a person is performing with tasks such as eating, grooming, bathing, dressing, and toileting. These skills are called basic activities of daily living (BADL’s). An Occupational Therapist may also inquire how well a person is doing with medication management, driving, intimacy, and mobility inside the home, which are considered instrumental activities of daily living (IADL’s).

An older adult may experience difficulty with daily living skills because of limited motion in their arms after a stroke, hand pain due to arthritis, or balance difficulties associated with a degenerative disorder such as Parkinson’s disease. An OT can provide the following to increase independence with daily living skills:           

·      Low vision devices

·      Monitored exercise

·      Strength and stability exercises

·      Adaptive clothing recommendations

·      Adaptive equipment such as weighted utensils, elastic shoe strings, or reachers

·      Constraint induced therapy (CIT) to promote increased use of a dominant hand

·      Splints to promote proper positioning of hands/joints to prevent hand deformity with someone who has arthritis

Jennica Colvin, Owner and Occupational Therapist at Trio Rehabilitation & Wellness Solutions reports, “I see my job as keeping people as independent as long as possible while maintaining a positive quality of life. We do this by being active listeners and providing one-on-one therapy sessions.”

Should you feel you have questions for Jennica at TRIO REHABILITATION & WELLNESS SOLUTIONS please call her at 830.331.2083

What is Dysphagia?

What is Dysphagia?

Simply stated, dysphagia is difficulty with chewing and swallowing. This means it make take extra time or effort to move food from your mouth to your stomach.  The food could even go into your lungs eventually causing bacterial pneumonia.  Symptoms of dysphagia can include:

-coughing when eating/drinking

-runny nose when eating/drinking

-clearing the throat when eating/drinking

-struggling to swallow whole foods

-increased difficulty with chewing

-choking on food/liquids

Occasional difficulty with swallowing is normal especially if you eat too fast and fail to chew your food enough prior to swallowing. However, if you experience the symptoms stated above with most to every meal, there may be a medical condition occurring that requires treatment.

 

What Causes Dysphagia?

Difficulty swallowing can be caused by multiple conditions. Some of the most common seen in the adult population include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), cancer treatments, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and age-related muscle weakness.

 

Treatment for Dysphagia

If you suspect you have dysphagia or you have been diagnosed with dysphagia, a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) can help you receive the tailored treatment you will need. SLP’s are swallowing specialists.  Depending on the type of swallowing difficulty you have, your SLP may prescribe exercises to strengthen the muscles inside your throat. You may also learn about ways to position your head when you swallow. 

At Trio Rehabilitation & Wellness Solutions in Boerne, TX our speech therapist is VitalStim® certified.  This type of dysphagia treatment is a special form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation that helps the muscles in the neck contract to improve swallowing. If a person is not a candidate for VitalStim® therapy, there is another option. Deep pharyngeal neuromuscular stimulation (DPNS) is a program used to stimulate sites on the tongue, soft palate, and back of the throat to promote improved swallowing.

Certain conditions are progressive and require a change in diet texture all together as the ability to swallow thin liquids is lost.  When that occurs, your SLP may recommend thickened liquids and stickier foods to improve your ability to swallow.

Remember, the best intervention is early intervention with any chewing or swallowing difficulties.

Call Trio Rehab. Today!

830-331-2083

triorws.co

What is Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive movement disorder due to damage at the nerve cells in the brain causing dopamine (a chemical in the brain) levels to drop. This drop leads to the symptoms seen in a person with PD. Some symptoms seen in a person living with PD include a tremor in one hand, shuffling when walking, stiffness, poor balance, and handwriting that trails off when writing. Other symptoms may include feeling as though feet “freeze” to the floor, making it hard to take a first step. It may physically become difficulty to speak loudly and close friends may notice that there is less expression in the face. If you notice these signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you should speak to your primary care doctor.  If you are diagnosed with PD, there is help!

 

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists can support the quality of life for a person living with Parkinson’s disease. At Trio Rehabilitation & Wellness Solutions in Boerne, TX, our therapists are certified in the LSVT Big & Loud ® program.  This program teaches people with PD how to improve speed and quality of their body movements and vocal loudness.

In addition, your therapist will provide you with education about PD, the stages of PD, and what each stage may look like. A physical or occupational therapist will partner with you at the time of diagnosis and as the condition changes!  Your therapist will start you on a program to help you:

-       Improve your flexibility

-       Develop strategies to get into/out of a chair or the bed

-       Stand up and turn in small spaces

-       Improve your coordination

-       Decrease your risk for falling

-       Determine any equipment needs (weighted utensils)

 

Finding the Right Kind of Therapists

When looking for a therapist, remember that all therapists are trained through education and experience to work with people who have PD, but you may wish to consider the following:

*Some therapists are more experienced in treating people with neurological disorders.

*Some therapists are board certified in Geriatrics (the older adult) or hold special certifications in movement disorders such as LSVT Big & Loud®.

Remember, the best intervention is early intervention with any disease process.

Should you need more information about living with Parkinson’s Disease, please visit lsvtglobal.com, triorws.com or call us today at 830-331-2083!