April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, so we’ve brought back Jennifer Hedgepeth with Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, to speak to us about Parkinson’s and one of many ways that occupational therapy can help. Jennifer Hedgepeth is both a clinical liaison and certified occupational therapist assistant with Encompass.
Note: High-speed internet was giving us some challenges during the chat, so you may experience a lag in parts of the video!
To reach out to Jennifer Hedgepeth or to learn more about Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, there are a number of ways to get in touch:
Contact Jennifer Hedgepeth
Direct: (941) 376-6904
Main Phone: (941) 921-8600
Address: 6400 Edgelake Dr Sarasota, FL 34240
To learn more about John Cullen and his movie “It’s Just Parkinson’s,”:
Watch the trailer on the official website: https://www.itsjustparkinsons.com/
Stream the movie here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/itsjustparkinsons
#parkinsonsawarenessmonth #parkinsonsdisease #parkinsonsawareness #occupationaltherapy #seniorcare #homehelpersbradenton
[Jonathan] Hello and welcome to this edition of Home Helper's Water Cooler Chat. And I'm Jonathan Marsh, the owner of Home Helpers.
April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. So, I've brought back a special guest Jennifer Hedgepeth of Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota. Jennifer is a clinical liaison and also a certified occupational therapist assistant.
Thank you, Jennifer, for joining us.
[Jennifer] Thanks, Jonathan.
[Jonathan] It's great to have you. So, before we dive into it, I just want to say that Jennifer and I were lucky enough to attend an event recently given by the Neuro Challenge Foundation, where they premiered a movie called “It's Just Parkinson's” with a gentleman by the name of John Cullen. He was the star, and he was actually at the premiere of the movie.
I've got to say, I've learned so much about Parkinson's from that movie, but you also got to see the challenges that he faced during his journey, the mindset that he had that was always positive and it's a real tear-jerker for sure. And I would highly recommend that anyone that has any desire to learn more about Parkinson's, or if you've got a family member that's gotten Parkinson's, or even if you have Parkinson's yourself, I recommend that you watch this movie. We'll share in the comments a link to that video.
Jennifer, so let's go ahead and dive into it. So, the first question I have for you is to tell us a little bit about Parkinson's and its impacts on the body.
[Jennifer] Parkinson's disease is a disease of the central nervous system, and it affects the ability to perform movements in a smooth manner. It also can cause tremors. It can cause cognitive impairment. It can cause bowel and bladder issues, and there are several ways that occupational therapy can address Parkinson's.
One of those is weighted adaptive equipment, weighted forks and spoons, and weighted pens for writing. Because a lot of times the tremors, it causes someone's signature, and someone's ability to write to start to fail, and then their writing doesn't become legible. So, with a weighted utensil or a weighted pen, those people are able to maintain their ability to perform tasks such as writing birthday cards or feeding themselves with more independence and less chance of spilling their food on themselves. That's one way that occupational therapy can help Parkinson's disease.
As we saw in the movie last night, Jonathan. You saw that John Cullen was a cyclist prior to his injury. So, he had the strength and endurance ahead of time to help him get through the first phase of Parkinson's, where he found out that he had Parkinson's and he demonstrated difficulty with just moving his legs, moving the right side of his body. Parkinson's typically affects one side of the body more than the other. In his case, it was his right leg that he noticed at first.
And then through perseverance and exercise, as you saw in the movie, he became a powerlifter, which completely blew my mind to see him in person, to see how muscular he was, and to see how strong he was. But as he said in the movie that we saw last night, it overstimulated his central nervous system and provided him dopamine, which is what Parkinson's disease patients lack. And with that, he was able to go from shuffling gait. His feet were shuffling. He was walking very slowly in the first video that he showed. And then after the powerlifting, you see him with a smoother gait, no shuffling at all, and hardly any tremors. So that's what therapy can do, or exercise can do for those who are suffering from Parkinson's.
[Jonathan] Very good. Thank you once again, Jenn, I mean, this is very helpful for our audience. As far as Encompass, is there anything...Should they reach out to you if they want to pursue, I guess, therapy at the hospital? How does that work?
[Jennifer] Absolutely. Jonathan, you can provide my information in the comments if you'd like. Encompass actually, we encourage those with Parkinson's to come in for what we call a tune-up every couple of months because, with advances in medications and different modalities, we're able to bring those Parkinson's patients from needing extensive assistance at home to becoming more independent and putting less burden on their caregivers, which allows them to function at a more independent level, give them it gives them a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment.
So yes, please link Encompass’ information in the comments. If you wouldn't mind.
[Jonathan] I will definitely do that. Well, thank you, Jennifer, for joining us. For everybody who's watching, thank you for watching this episode of Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat. And until next time. We'll see you soon. Take care.
[Jennifer] Thanks, Jonathan.
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Home Helpers of Bradenton is one of the region's leading home care franchises specializing in comprehensive services for seniors. Home Helpers' sole mission is to make life easier for clients and their families. Based in Bradenton, Florida, the company serves all of Manatee County, including the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Palmetto, and Parrish. For more information or to request a free in-home care assessment, contact our office at (941) 499-5946 or visit our website at www.homehelpershomecare.com/bradenton