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Connie's love of music helped her succeed.

Music in Speech Therapy

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Connie Pival always dresses to the nines with her fancy outfits and matching hats. Connie moved to Edwardsville, IL with her husband and was a teacher at Edwardsville Elementary where she loved working with children and inspiring their young lives. Connie also plays piano. Her husband was a musician and a professor of music in Edwardsville, so you could say music has always been a big part of Connie’s life.

Connie moved to Cedarhurst of Edwardsville with the passing of her husband. She required a lot more help from loving caregivers after she had a stroke in 2017. After her stroke, Connie’s expressive language abilities became quite limited. After the partnership with EmpowerMe Wellness began, Connie began receiving Speech Therapy to help her safely eat and drink, but also to maximize her communication abilities. She has participated in making a personal life history book using pictures of her hometown, family, and career and also enjoys singing along to familiar songs while keeping rhythm and dancing. According to caregivers, Connie is much more verbal and seems more happy since she started.

Connie’s love of music and success with music therapy as a way to promote speech/language production has prompted the start of a new program with EmpowerMe Wellness called “Interactive Music Sessions” offered to all residents. Connie continues to participate in bi-weekly wellness program sessions with the Speech Therapist in order to maintain her abilities. She often comes to the therapy department at Cedarhurst of Edwardsville and looks for the Speech Therapist to see if it is time to visit. She often has a bounce in her step and a smile on her face. Her nurse care managers are pleased with the Speech Therapy and Physcial wellness program offered by EmpowerMe Wellness.

Therapy helped Belle reach her goals.

Regaining Independence

Belle is one of the original residents of Cedarhurst in St. Charles, moving in May 2017 from her home nearby.  Belle is widely known and loved by the residents and staff of the facility because of her constant smile and positive attitude.  She was described by her son as a hard worker, saying “my mom always worked everyone under the table”.  He added that she was always a great support system for everyone in her family.  Belle has also been described as a woman ahead of her time, joining the Army in WWII.  After completing her time in the service at the age of 22, Belle used her GI Bill to attend school to become a Doctor of Chiropractic.  Belle says this is where she met her husband, also a chiropractor. Belle managed to fulfill her career as a chiropractor while raising 8 children and still made time to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  Belle’s son recalls her regularly handmaking fresh whole wheat bread for her family and never missing a day of exercise with Jack LaLanne videos.

At the age of 94, Belle is still independent with most of her daily routines including dressing and toileting but knew she was getting weaker and became fearful to get out of her wheelchair as she had multiple falls while transferring.  Belle was determined to increase her strength, balance, and confidence willing to do whatever it would take to be independent again, including walking.  After a traumatic femur fracture in February 2017, Belle has been mostly confined to a wheelchair due to a 4 inch leg length discrepancy. In addition, from being wheelchair bound a significant amount of time, Belle had developed flexion contractures in both knees.

Belle began physical and occupational therapy through EmpowerMe Wellness to achieve her goal of walking again.  Being a fiercely independent woman, we knew that she would be able to meet and surpass her goals.  Throughout the several weeks of therapy, the therapists assisted her in obtaining a custom-made shoe lift, a new walker, a bed assist rail, and long handled shoe horn. Upon discharge from therapy, Belle was able to walk over 300ft with her walker and could once again complete all transfers and activities of daily living totally independently, but with increased confidence and safety.

Now, almost 2 months after being discharged from therapy, Belle still puts on her custom-made shoes (independently, using her long handled shoe horn) and gets up out of her wheelchair and walks the hallway on the second floor and to most meals with her walker to get her daily exercise.

Occupational therapy aiding in dementia care.

“Can you help me with this project?”

Terry, a retiree from the maintenance department at SIUE, was referred to PT/OT due to a fall, behaviors, and elopement risk. A cognitive assessment determined that Terry is in an early stage of dementia. Terry likes to work with his hands, use tools, and engage in familiar recreational activities with set up for supplies and supervision.

Throughout the day Terry is looking for work or talking about needing to leave to go to work. A PVC pipe project was put together especially for Terry. It allows him to build the pipes together either standing with supervision or sitting at the table. This activity distracts Terry from wanting to leave the building. Other activities that help ease Terry’s anxiety is sorting through his toolkit of nuts and bolts, rolling coins, folding towels, and additional sorting activities.

Using the approach, “Can you help me with this project?”, Terry is directed and calmed with purposeful activities, such as his PVC pipe project.

Eliminating pain and increasing mobility after a car accident.

One More Chance at Therapy

7 years ago, Janice Carver experienced a car accident that left her with cervical pain, headaches, vertigo and limited range of motion. Janice attempted physical therapy in the past but found that it was unable to reduce the symptoms or manage the pain. Her doctor recommended her to try pain injections, but Janice asked for one more chance at physical therapy with EmpowerMe Wellness.

The therapists sat down with Janice and worked out a plan to help her meet her goal of reducing the pain and regaining mobility. The plan consisted of working with therapy two times a week with treatment consisting of manual cervical stretching and mobilization of the spinal segments. She was also instructed in a home program of gentle neck stretching and strengthening exercises which she completed faithfully on a daily basis.  Education was given to assist in improved posture to decrease the strain on upper back and neck musculature. In addition, changes were made to Janice’s sleeping position to increase her level of comfort at night.

At the onset of care, Janice was functionally limited 40% by her pain.  At time of discharge she was reporting complete elimination of all pain, headaches and vertigo.  Her cervical mobility had returned to normal and she was once again able to rest comfortably through the night.

On her last day of therapy Janice exclaimed, “I’m so glad I came to EmpowerMe Wellness for therapy.  My therapist genuinely listened to my concerns and built my treatment program around them and I truly believe that is why the physical therapy worked this time.  I wish I had come here sooner.  I recommend EmpowerMe Wellness to all my friends and family.”