The Parkinson’s Resource Center (PRC) at Louisiana Tech is encouraging its users to continue exercising at home during the current climate of complications from COVID-19.

The PRC will continue both its Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) and dance classes in person once the Lambright Sports & Wellness Center reopens. And in the fall, the Center hopes to introduce programs to help with both nutrition guidance and diminished voice issues, classes that will further help both those with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their caregivers.

There is a virtual dance class posted on the PRC website here, and Rock Steady Boxing participants continue to communicate through their Facebook page here.

The PRC is still able to mail resources; just call 318.257.2514.

About the new programs

SPEECH: The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment “LSVT LOUD” will be offered to individuals with diminished voice issues associated with Parkinson’s and is designed to help patients improve their speech and voice by treating the underlying physical pathologies associated with the affected voice. Developed in the 1980s for a patient named Mrs. Lee Silverman, the treatment focuses on increasing vocal loudness and is delivered by a speech therapist in sixteen one-hour sessions spread over four weeks.

“Our faculty and all first-year and some second-year graduate Speech Language Pathology (SLP) students have been trained in this evidence-based treatment method for improving diminished voice and articulation associated with PD,” said Daphne Washington, instructor in Tech’s School of Communication and an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) specialist.

Spaces will be limited but a wait list will be available.

Washington said individuals interested in either LSVT LOUD or other speech and language services should contact the Louisiana Tech Speech and Hearing Center at 318.257.4766 for more information; leave a message if there is no answer. The Center’s website is here.

NUTRITION: Dr. Catherine Fontenot, assistant professor in Tech’s Department of Human Ecology and a PRC board member, said that while she and her team are “still working to better understand the needs of those with Parkinson’s — both the patient and the caregiver — our goal is to help educate the patient and caregiver on how to overcome some feeding and eating challenges as the disease progresses.”

Because patients can have difficulty swallowing and chewing may become problematic, and because appetite tends to wax and wane, “our role is to teach the caregiver and the patient how to eat well — nutritiously balanced meals — while overcoming those challenges,” Fontenot said. “Some of the recommendations we provide are increasing the protein and caloric density of specific foods so that every bite they do consume really has an impact on their nutritional health.

“In addition,” she said, “we anticipate offering group nutrition education classes that intertwine nutrition concepts that relate specifically to PD, and to offer the caregivers and patients novel meal preparation ideas that are healthy, economical, quick and easy.”

Founded in 2017, Tech’s Parkinson Resource Center at Louisiana Tech was established through a grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation. It was developed by Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Scholars at the Parkinson’s Foundation, Dr. Tara Haskins and Dr. Donna Hood from Tech’s Division of Nursing. Through collaboration of faculty, students, and facility resources of the University, the PRC connects those with PD and their care partners to resources that support and improve quality of life.

For more information, email or call 318.257.2514.