“I’m too busy, “I’m too tired,” “I have too much company,” “I have too many doctor’s appointments.”
These are just a few of the “too’s” I hear from my PD patients when I ask: “did you practice your speech this week?” Some of the excuses are similar to what many of us have for not adhering to our own exercise programs, yet, for the person with Parkinson’s, failing to follow through with the home exercise prescribed by their speech or physical therapist can mean the difference between safe and optimal functioning and an increase risk of falls, swallowing problems, or further speech decline.
When you review the literature about exercise in the general population, some estimates say that nearly 2/3 of adults in the US set fitness goals as a part of their New Year’s resolution, and yet 73% give up before meeting their goals.
Time and difficulty following an exercise program are among the top reasons why people give up. Motivation, planning and social support are keys to success.
What’s true for the general population is likely true for many people with PD, which is why for years, I have offered and promoted home and community-based programs as adjuncts to out-patient speech therapy.
Below are some suggestions that may help you maintain the improvements you made during speech therapy and stay motivated to practice.
- If available, join a weekly speech class, such as Voice Aerobics®, Speak Easy 4 PD, The LOUD Crowd®, or LOUD for Life. A weekly speech class of guided practice can help re-enforce the principles learned during treatment, and provide a great venue for peer support and motivation.
- Utilize a home-based guided program. Just as my Total gym came packaged with an instructional DVD, you may benefit from using a DVD or app that can help you practice without having to remember specific instructions. The Voice Aerobics® DVD, LSVT® Homework Helper, and Speak Up for Parkinson app, are all guided programs that can be used without ever leaving your home.
- Enlist the help of a friend. If you attend a local Parkinson’s support group, ask around if there is someone who would like to get together once a week and complete some speech and voice practice.
- Consider online coaching. Did you know that at Voice Aerobics, we offer online coaching? You can schedule one visit to obtain guidance in using a product or program, or schedule several visits. Although Medicare and most insurance does not yet pay for speech therapy for adults viaTelepractice, affordably priced online therapy and coaching can benefit people who live far from a speech therapy provider. Visit our private practice page to learn more.
Are Vision Problems Making if Difficult for You to Practice?
Occasionally I have a patient whose vision is impaired, making it nearly impossible to use reading material for speech practice. Hi-VOLT® 4 PD is an audio CD that provides guided speech practice, and all it requires is a CD player and set of headphones. It was designed to be used in conjunction with the Hi-VOLT® voice-on-light, a voice activated light that can also be worn as a bracelet, providing immediate, concurrent feedback to the user. The loudness required to activate the light will be greater than your everyday speech, and when used during speech practice it can help you feel the effort required to stay loud enough for every day conversation.
No CD player? No problem, you can also download the program directly to your computer or tablet. So, grab you headphones and get started. There’s nothing to remember, no charts to keep, just SPEAK UP and SEE the LIGHT! Hi-VOLT, like all of the Voice Aerobics® products was designed to be affordable, portable, and FUN!
Voice Aerobics® Participating Events
Parkinson’s EXPO hosted by Neuro Challenge Foundation. A free event being held Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Bradenton area Convention Center (Bradenton, Florida). 9-3pm and registration is still open. Visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2020-parkinsons-expo-registration-71513068513
Meet me in Orlando at the Parkinson’s Brain and Beyond Conference sponsored by Advent Health. The program is free for all attendees. Visit their website to see the full day agenda and to register: https://www.adventhealth.events/event.cfm?id=6962
My MissionTo enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice
Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice