Parkinson’s Patients Get BIG and LOUD in Therapy

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gene Motter was 48 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“I was [an] early onset patient and I’m now 60. So for 12 years I’ve had it,” Motter said.

In those 12 years, he has struggled with some everyday tasks.

“Parkinson’s, you have a hard time putting on your shoes and socks at times,” Motter said. That’s when Motter decided he had enough.

“I was kind of at my wits end,” Motter said. “I mean, medication only takes you so far with this. You just keep taking medicine, taking medicine but it doesn’t always make it better. [But] these girls really made it better.”

The girls Motter is referring to are a part of UnityPoint Health’s LSVT BIG and LOUD program.

“Big, literally meaning big movement,” Esada Mujcic, UnityPoint Health Occupational Therapist said.

“For the loud portion what we are working on is getting their voice not only louder, but to have better clarity,” Katelyn Goettsch, UnityPoint Health Speech Pathologist said.

The physical therapy is filled with a wide range of repetitive activities to help not only improve function but also slow motor deterioration.

“You think, ‘what the heck am I doing,’ but the end result is good,” Motter said.

The one month long program involves 60-minute sessions, four times a week.

“It’s pretty rigorous, but we find that most of our patients that have Parkinson’s are the most motivated because they know that there’s an outcome to this,” Mujcic said.

The outcome for Motter was visible in more ways than one. Not only did his speech and walking improve, so did his golf swing. He started the sport back up after quitting years ago.

“I thought ‘oh I’ll never play again.’ [But] they had me loosen up and swinging, and hitting the ball again,” Motter said. “So I’ve been out playing again and I’m not the best golfer in the world, but I enjoy it and that’s what counts.”

Motter just completed his month long program a few weeks ago. He says the BIG and LOUD therapy helped his confidence just as much as it helped him physically.


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