Spotlight: The Birches at Newtown

    Managing Parkinson’s and staying healthy at The Birches

    As many as 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that causes tremors, rigidity and difficulty walking.  

    While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, maintaining good health through daily exercise and proper nutrition can help manage symptoms and slow its progression. 

    At The Birches, all residents have daily access to fitness classes and state-of-the-art therapy programs through a partnership with FOX Rehabilitation.

    Clinicians use therapeutic exercises focusing on strength, mobility and balance to improve and restore functional abilities and prevent injury. 

    For those residents living with Parkinson’s disease, an exercise regimen needs to include high-intensity training that is both difficult and rewarding.

    The Birches and FOX Rehab collaborated to create a six-week non-combat boxing program designed to help relieve bradykinesia, tremors, rigidity and other movement symptoms.

    A heavy bag and speed bags, various punching combinations, high-intensity cardiovascular stamina training, and exercises focusing on lower extremity strength are key components of each 30-minute session.

    “Everything is easier after boxing,” said J.C. Rickabaugh, a resident at The Birches. “I walk better and move better.”

    Through an exclusive wellness program provided by FOX Rehab, every resident at The Birches can take advantage of FOX Optimal Living, which provides on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. Two physical therapists, two occupational therapists and a speech-language pathologist are also Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) certified. 

    LSVT LOUD® and LSVT BIG® are evidence-based treatments for Parkinson’s disease and are considered the “gold standard” in vocal and physical rehabilitation.

    These therapy programs help overcome some of the challenges associated with Parkinson’s disease, like small and slow movements, decreased balance and walking speed, tone of speech, and difficulty swallowing.

    LSVT LOUD® and LSVT BIG® also have the potential to produce significant improvements for residents experiencing communication difficulties and movement limitations. 

    “Our goal of treatment at The Birches is to take a proactive approach to care,” said Eric Louis, FOX Optimal Living rehab director at The Birches. “In doing so, we utilize high-intensity exercise programs and therapy services, which are scientifically studied and supported by research, to help our residents maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.” 

    To learn more about The Birches at Newtown or how you can participate in our boxing program or an invigorating exercise class, please call 215-240-4829 or visit      

    PHOTO CAP: Carolyn Kuhlman, a resident at The Birches at Newtown, uses various punching combinations during a one-on-one therapy session with FOX Optimal Living Rehab Director Eric Louis. The non-combat boxing program is designed to help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

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