♫♫ Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

♫♫ Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

physical therapist and patient with hand weight

That title might take many of us back to nursery school when we learned about the parts of our bodies. By adulthood, we’re probably more than aware because, let’s face it, they probably all hurt!

Pain can make us feel rusty as we age, but we’ve got to keep moving in any way we can. When you stop, you stop. But how do you keep on moving even when it starts to hurt? Physical therapy can help! Today is National Physical Therapy Day. To celebrate, let’s answer some important questions about this fantastic service.

What is Physical Therapy? Physical therapy, or “PT” for short, helps patients learn to exercise, stretch, and move in a way that can reduce their pain and increase their ability to be independent with movement. This includes walking safely without falling. The best part about physical therapy is that it can relieve pain without taking medications. Sometimes PT is stretching, sometimes it’s exercising, and sometimes, it can involve light massage to treat the area of the body experiencing pain.

A Preventative Approach

While many think that PT is something folks do following an injury, a hospital stay, or surgery, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, PT is done preventatively to improve a condition before the pain or injury leads to a more severe issue.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it” is a common saying that couldn’t be truer! PT helps you use the muscles of your body so you can keep doing all the daily activities you need to do to stay healthy.

What Conditions Can PT Treat? PT can treat conditions from foot, ankle, arm, or low back pain to urinary incontinence.

Where Can I Do PT? PT can be done in a clinic, hospital, nursing home, assisted living community, or at your home. Physical therapy can be considered outpatient or home health when you’re not admitted to a hospital or nursing home. One of the best enhancements to outpatient therapy is when the therapists come right to your door!

How Do I Qualify? If you have an injury, pain, limited range of motion, or use a device for safe mobility, you may qualify for PT. Some insurances do require a physician’s referral.

Who Can Pay? Most insurance can pay for PT. Medicare is a typical pay source as well. Depending on your insurance plan, many will cover the cost of physical therapy. CaringEdge can help to determine your coverage if you’re unsure. 

How Long Does PT Last? Therapy sessions typically are 45-60 minutes. The average length of therapy depends on each individual’s progress, injury, pain, and other health conditions.

What if I Need it Again? Patients can requalify for PT if their injury/limitation does not improve or if a new condition requires it.

Is Physical Therapy Hard? Physical therapy isn’t like a boot camp that forces you to work, but it is a commitment. When you choose physical therapy, you’re committing to maintaining your independence. Movement can be challenging, but the alternative could mean relying on mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs long-term. Sometimes it can also mean that you’ll require total care from others for dressing, bathing, and getting in and out of bed. This can take a toll mentally on a person’s well-being.

CaringEdge brings our physical therapy services to YOU. Our services are dependent upon what each person needs and hopes to achieve. We will monitor you for pain and adjust the physical therapy schedule and exercises based on how you’re feeling. We can help to address any concerns you may have about your condition and check in with you as you progress toward your goals. If someone wants to maintain independence or return to their baseline, we can help! Check out the fantastic patient testimonials on our Facebook page by clicking here.

If you’re interested to find out if you qualify for PT and if it’s right for you, connect with us at info@caringedge.com.

Preparing for a Safe Winter Season

Preparing for a Safe Winter Season

male senior working with physical therapist

After a lovely summer filled with pleasant weather, friends, and walks outside, the impending doom begins to set in; winter is coming. The demands of winter can be tougher and tougher as we age and as parts of us don’t work like they once did. Suddenly, the shoveling workout becomes a mountain of a task instead of an opportunity for exercise. Maybe you’re not moving around as much because the risk of falling is high or the tasks are too complicated.

If this sounds like you, our friendly advice is, don’t wait until you’re injured or sick to ask for help. If you wait too long, the support you might need could be beyond just a little. Untreated illnesses, injuries, and overall decline may compromise your independence.

Consider Home Health Services

If you’re like many people, you don’t want to leave home even if you need help in the winter, and it gets downright lonesome sometimes. If leaving home is hard, consider asking your doctor for a home health referral.

Home health can provide a registered nurse to monitor your vitals and medical conditions. They can help educate you on your medications and monitor you for any side effects that might go unnoticed over the winter if you don’t go out as much.

Maintain or Regain Strength

Physical or occupational therapy can come right to your home as well. Whether you need one or both, these can help you do range of motion exercises, strengthening, or balance-improving movements to help you maintain your independence.

Each therapy is designed to help you improve and maintain your strength and balance. They might also help you avoid falls. Did you know that someone 65 or over falls every second? That’s an important stat from the CDC.

Here is some additional info on falls:

  • 1 out of 4 older adults will fall each year.
  • 1 in 5 falls causes an injury like broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, 3 million older adults are seen in the emergency rooms after a fall-related injury.

Fall Prevention Tips

  • See your doctors—notice we said more than one doctor! See your primary care physician, optometrist, and hearing specialist. Be sure you’re on the proper medications and can see and hear your surroundings.
  • If you have clutter or risky throw rugs lying around your house, remove them.
  • Be sure your outside walkways are clear of snow and ice.
  • Take your time when walking. Falls happen quickly!
  • Ask your doctor if you need home monitoring of your medications by a registered nurse. If you live alone and manage chronic illnesses, you may not notice the side effects of meds or symptoms of your condition.
  • Use proper lighting. Keep a flashlight handy for those late-night trips to the bathroom, install a night light, or buy a smart bulb and ask Alexa to turn your light on.
  • Be aware of pets as you walk. Fluffy pups or clingy kitty cats can trip you up when you least expect it.
  • Wear supportive, nonslip footwear.
  • Get an emergency pendant system if you live alone and are concerned about an emergency or fall that could make getting to the phone difficult.
  • Go-go Gadget! Railings, grab bars, and hand-held showers can all be helpful—so can a shower bench. A home evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist could be a great way to get recommendations for the exact gadgets you need to be safe.
  • Consider taking classes on fall prevention. There are a variety of curriculums available across the United States. These can be easily found by an internet search such as “Fall prevention classes near me.”

If you’re concerned about old man winter causing a ruckus in your life this year, don’t wait. Find out if you qualify for home health services and if CaringEdge can help! Reach out to us at info@caringedge.com.

Now That’s Hard to Swallow!

Now That’s Hard to Swallow!

image of female and female senior seated

One minute you’re in the backyard visiting with your neighbors over a picnic meal, and before you know it, a delicately prepared bite of steak has become stuck in your throat.  As you’re coughing, sweating, and panicking, it’s Heimlich’s miraculous maneuver to the rescue! If you’re fortunate, the maneuver works as intended, with no harm or foul, but choking can have more detrimental effects. The National Safety Council reported that in 2020, 3,000 choking deaths occurred, and nearly half of the victims were over age 74. Many things change with age, including the ability to swallow easily.

Because it’s Heimlich Maneuver Day, we also want to highlight a possible choking preventative: speech therapy. Unfortunately, speech therapy isn’t given proper credit. When many think of it, grade school may come to mind when it helps youngsters pronounce their /r/s correctly, but it’s far more than linguistics. Did you know it can also help with swallowing?

The same structures involved in speech and voice production are also part of the swallow mechanism. When muscles become deconditioned and weak, the risk of aspiration increases. Aspiration is when food or liquids enters the lungs. Aside from discomfort and a choking sensation, pneumonia can also be a severe complication of aspirating foods and beverages.

Signs of a Swallowing Impairment

Swallow studies are ordered by a medical doctor and completed in a hospital or clinic. During the study, participants may be asked to swallow various liquids. This can help to determine if there are significant problems with the muscles in their throat that contribute to swallowing. Participants may also undergo a scope evaluation that can show physicians the inside of the throat to find areas of weakness or structural deficiencies. After the assessment, doctors may recommend dietary changes such as thickened liquids, speech therapy, or surgical procedures to address the problem. If you or someone you love shows signs of swallowing impairment, seeking a medical evaluation promptly may help reduce the risk of unwanted complications like choking.

Additional Tips to Prevent Choking:

  • Eat appropriately sized food (cut into bite sizes)
  • Don’t speak or laugh while eating
  • Chew food carefully/adequately
  • Allow enough time for meals (avoid rushing the process)
  • Ensure dentures are properly fitted to reduce gaging
  • Provide water or a beverage to help wash the meal down safely

Dementia & Increased Choking Risks

Memory loss can cause someone to forget to chew at all or adequately before they swallow, leading to significant choking and aspiration problems. While a speech therapy evaluation to learn best practices for mealtime is ideal, check out the tips above and below to increase safety at mealtime for those suffering from dementia:

  • Calm, verbal reminders to chew and swallow
  • Comfortable, distraction-free environment
  • Supervision during the meal

If you’re seeking outpatient speech therapy or memory care services for your loved one, contact us at info@edgewoodhealthcare.com. We offer a variety of support, such as adult day services and memory care, and many of our communities also offer on-site outpatient speech therapy services provided by CaringEdge to help.

Relief Options for Those with Parkinson’s

Relief Options for Those with Parkinson’s

senior exercising


Because April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we wanted to help spread the word and highlight how those suffering have found some relief.

The Hoehn-Yahr Scale helps to classify Parkinson’s disease into stages based on the degree of physical involvement. The first stage, stage I, begins as involvement on one side of the body with minimal or no troubles with functional use. The most advanced stage, stage V, is classified as physical weakness and incapacity, so great that the individual may be bed-bound or using a wheelchair unless given assistance.

Almost all diagnoses have a progression, and Parkinson’s disease presents differently in each individual who is diagnosed. Both physical and non-physical symptoms come from this neurodegenerative disease that could cause minimal or devastating impacts on daily function and relationships.

The early stages can be easily misunderstood as ordinary changes related to the aging process. Unfortunately, when symptoms are overlooked, the clock is ticking. Increasing our understanding of the disease process helps us to intervene earlier.


Common earliest signs of Parkinson’s:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased ability to smell (which may also lead to appetite changes and weight loss)
  • Constipation
  • Small, cramped handwriting
  • Voice changes
  • Stooped posture

It’s no wonder that the early signs of Parkinson’s disease often go unrecognized. The body tries to alert you to this movement disorder for years before movement difficulties are generally even recognized, and your body compensates for these early warning signs. However, as the disease progresses to the mid-to-late stages, there are much more noticeable symptoms. Read on to learn more about the common symptoms and some of the lesser-known ones.

Four major characteristics:

  • Tremors (shaking that occurs at rest)
  • Stiffness in the arms, legs, and trunk
  • Slow movements
  • Problems with balance and a tendency to fall

Secondary symptoms:

  • Reduced arm swinging when walking
  • Tendency to get “stuck” when walking
  • Tendency to fall forward
  • Muffled, low-volume speech
  • Blank facial expression
  • Decreased blinking and swallowing

Lesser-known symptoms:

  • Increased risk of melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Flaky white or yellow scales on the skin, known as seborrheic dermatitis
  • Sleep disturbances with vivid dreams
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty with visual-spatial relationships
  • Problems with attention and memory
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Muscular pain

Caregivers often wonder what will help their loved ones to live well through the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Many hopeful therapies are around to help encourage those living with Parkinson’s.


Since 1987, individuals have been experiencing the benefits of amplitude-based treatment developed by Dr. Lorraine Ramig called Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD). It is based on the principle of “recalibrating” the understanding of how to use the voice to provide for increased volume, clarity of speech, and facial expression. LSVT LOUD is directed by a specially trained speech therapist and follows a specific dosage for optimal results. More recently, LSVT BIG has been developed with the same principles of amplitude-based training and recalibration from LSVT LOUD, but this time to focus on the body’s overall movements. Certified physical and occupational therapists lead the participant through a one-on-one, intensive four-week program to optimize the performance of walking, balance, dressing, handwriting, and whatever other tasks are meaningful to each participant.

Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!)

Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) is a model of fitness and health for life developed by Dr. Becky Farley in 2010 for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. It creates a natural flow to and from group fitness classes and skilled one-on-one therapy with a certified PWR! occupational or physical therapist to decrease symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and promote an optimal quality of life. PWR! uses four primary movements, PRW! Up, PWR! Rock, PWR! Twist and PWR! The steps that work to counteract the symptoms of stiffness, slowness of movement, incoordination, and reduced body awareness are commonly found in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. PWR! builds physical, cognitive, and emotional health through specialized delivery of service and through empowering participants to live well every day.


Rock Steady Boxing

Empowerment and hope are the keywords for Rock Steady Boxing. This one-of-a-kind program is designed to knock out the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through a specially designed non-contact boxing program. It optimizes physical fitness and provides a non-traditional support group where participants and their care partners unite to fight against Parkinson’s disease. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not, this program is for you!

With the help of CaringEdge’s Outpatient Therapy Program, those residing at Edgewood have some options for managing symptoms of Parkinson’s. When a disease like Parkinson’s strikes, there’s no cure, but creatively, we can help those in need to find relief. Reach out to us today at info@caringedge.com to learn more.