Adaptive Equipment on Someone’s Holiday List?

RVNAhealth adaptive equipment recommendations

Okay, so adaptive equipment may not actually be on your loved one’s holiday wish list.  But for those who struggle with strength, mobility, or sensory issues, adaptive equipment can enable independence, enhance quality of life, and boost confidence. So RVNAhealth is here to offer great suggestions that might make someone’s holiday brighter!

Our clinicians are always eager to share suggestions on equipment that can make life easier when it comes to mobility and independence around the home. From kitchen, dressing, bed and bath, to grooming and beauty aids and even clothing — we’ve taken some of our clinicians’ most frequent recommendations and created a new webpage where you can browse these items and link directly through to purchase.

We welcome you to check back frequently as we continue to expand our list of recommended products. If you have questions regarding any of these products or usage, feel free to contact us.

See our RVNAhealth Adaptive Equipment Recommendations here!

Celebrating Our First Parkinson’s Disease Bootcamp Warriors!

RVNAhealth Parkinson's Disease Center Bootcamp 2023

On October 9th six brave Parkinson’s Warriors completed RVNAhealth’s first Parkinson’s disease (PD) Bootcamp program. These six clients spent eight weeks coming to our Ridgefield Center of Excellence twice a week to participate in our innovative PD Bootcamp. An intensive eight-week program, PD Bootcamp only takes six participants at a time, providing Parkinson’s patients with in-depth education about their disease, disease management, and exposing them to over sixteen different types of exercise. This first group of ‘bootcampers’ was funded by a grant from the Connecticut Chapter of the APDA. Graduates they are, but we like to call them “warriors!” Read on learn why…

About the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Disease Center

Since the Parkinson’s Center launched in April of this year, the response from the Parkinson’s community has been overwhelmingly rewarding. “It’s been an amazing experience creating a formal program to provide vital Parkinson’s disease education, exercise programs, and support and resources. I am grateful to the entire Parkinson’s Center team for their tireless dedication. And of course, my congratulations go out to our first Bootcamp warriors who trusted in us and our program,” said Gigi Weiss, Director of RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services and the Parkinson’s Center.

If you haven’t already heard about the Parkinson’s Center, check out our website and watch our spotlight video below!

PD Bootcamp…Dedication, Commitment, and Tools for Life

PD Bootcamp is designed as a small, intensive education and exercise program for those affected by Parkinson’s disease. Participants met together, with our RVNAhealth trained Parkinson’s specialists twice per week over the course of eight weeks. Our goal is to create relationships with our participants, deliver personalized education and plans, and equip them with the tools needed to live their best life.

Participants attended two exercise classes each week, with each class introducing them to a new type of exercise. Exercise classes included dance, boxing, Pilates, strength training, high intensity interval training, tai chi, and more! The goal in introducing so many different types of exercises is to help individuals find the exercise they enjoy most. “The only medically proven method of delaying the progression of Parkinson’s disease is exercise. So, what’s the best exercise to do? The one you enjoy and will keep up with!” says Kate Campbell, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Parkinson’s Center Program Manager. “Through our format, we really get to know these individuals and can best educate and guide them toward living their best life and taking control against their Parkinson’s.”

Bootcamp participants also attended a weekly educational session covering topics such as sleep, mental health, medication management, speech and cognition, and nutrition. PD Bootcamp workbooks provided reference materials and worksheets for individualized learning plans.

In the Words of Our Parkinson’s Disease Bootcamp “Warriors”

Thank you and congratulations to our first Bootcamp Warriors. We are grateful to share a few parting words from some of our graduates about their experience. If you have any questions about the Parkinson’s Center or its programs, please visit the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center website, join our newsletter subscription list, or email us at

“Over the last year my PD has accelerated rapidly. Perhaps it is not noticed by others, but I can feel the loss of muscle, the exhaustion, each slur of words, every scuff of foot, forgetfulness, constant pain, and confused action. The only hope a Parkinson’s patient has to forestall a total and deliberate, debilitating decline into dependency is exercise. Fortunately, this RVNAhealth Bootcamp program addresses this and more! The RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center and its PD Bootcamp program demonstrates how to interweave exercise and information into your daily schedule. It is a lot to do – but it gives you control, and a confidence you cannot find elsewhere! This program helps guide those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease through the myriad of symptoms they must confront and gives them the knowledge and defensive tools needed to continue on and live a purposeful life.” – Barbara

“I just finished the PD Bootcamp at the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center. What a great program and what a great experience for someone like me who is relatively newly diagnosed. Kate, Andrea, and Meg led a thorough program that kept me engaged for the entirety of the program. You were so visionary in designing and offering this program. I am now more aware of my disease what I can expect and the things I can do to help me cope with the Curveballs of Parkinson’s. I hope you are able to include this in your regular programming because it is so needed.” – Joe.


Congratulations again to all of our first Bootcamp Warriors!

Jan Brown vs. Parkinson’s … Score: 1-0

Nothing seems to stop 74 year old Newtown resident, Jan Brown – not even a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis! With a determined spirit and help from her doctors and the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center, Jan is now back to playing national level softball and more! And to celebrate Jan’s completion of RVNAhealth’s LSVT Parkinson’s program, the team decided what better way to celebrate than a surprise game of softball after her final session with RVNAhealth therapists and staff (see photo gallery below). Before the game, we had a chance to catch up with Jan and Parkinson’s Center staff to learn a little more about Jan and her journey.

About Jan & Her Diagnosis

After searching for a reason for progressing physical symptoms, Jan’s neurologist finally ordered a DaTscan. When her Parkinson’s diagnosis was revealed Jan was prescribed a common Parkinson’s disease medication which made significant improvements to her tremors and function. Her medical team also quickly mentioned, “You should check out the new Parkinson’s Center happening at RVNAhealth.”

Kate Campbell DPT, LSVT BIG, RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center Program Manager, recalled meeting Jan and evaluating her symptoms and goals. “At the point of diagnosis, the symptoms of her disease had progressed to the point of making simple daily tasks such as getting dressed, washing hair, and putting in contacts difficult,” said Campbell. This sports enthusiast and winner of several National Senior Games in softball and basketball, believed it was time to turn in her sports equipment. But thankfully the active spark in Jan had not fully extinguished and she signed on to participate in RVNAhealth’s LSVT program.

What is LSVT?

LSVT stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment. It is a globally recognized therapy program developed in the late 1980s and designed to help individuals with Parkinson’s disease improve their vocal and physical movement abilities. While the acronym LSVT refers to treatment for the effects of diminished or difficult voice/speaking skills, it also refers to an exercise protocol dedicated to improving a person’s physical movements commonly becoming smaller and more tentative as disease progresses. The LSVT programs aim to retrain a patient’s brain so their perception of their speech and movement is BIGGER and more accurate and they become able to speak and move with more amplitude.

RVNAhealth offers LSVT therapy at its Parkinson’s Center in Ridgefield and also in the home. The program is an intensive commitment – 4 weeks, 4 days a week for 1 hour appointments with an LSVT certified therapist – but when done, the results are usually life changing. Graduates of the program will have new habits and exercises to incorporate and continue in their ongoing daily routines. If someone needs a little more ongoing encouragement or prefers a group exercise setting, RVNAhealth also offers ongoing LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD weekly drop in exercise classes at its Ridgefield office for graduates. “Our goal is to help you live your best life with Parkinson’s. And our new Parkinson’s Center aims to be a lifelong resource for those who need it,” says Campbell.

Jan’s Experience at the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center

“I was determined to do what I needed to do to get back to my life. It was a commitment – 4 weeks, 4 days a week, 1 hour each day, plus homework – but with this program, I achieved my goals. I am so grateful!” says Jan. “And I am blown away by how much the RVNAhealth therapists know and have to know about Parkinson’s disease to help me and help other people. Megan [my RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center physical therapist assistant] listens to all of my questions and she is able to give me the correct answers. Everyone was just great.”

With Jan’s dedication to the LSVT program, its homework, and incorporating new skills and tools into her life to control symptoms, Jan is back to living her life to the fullest – including looking forward to the next softball National Senior Games in Arizona. And we didn’t mention her love of pickleball…or that she’s an instructor…or that she can beat her own grandchildren at the game!

What else can Jan Brown do with Parkinson’s disease? We’re betting on A LOT more! Way to go Jan – we are so proud of you!

For more information about the RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center, visit our website or call 203.438.5555 ext 1082 or email

See Jan throw!
See Jan jump!
See Jan swing! Go Jan go!









Megan Laber, Jan Brown, Kate Campbell
RVNAhealth Parkinson’s Center staff with Jan Brown for celebration softball game

Exercise for Two…No Reservations Needed!

While Valentine’s Day has past, it’s never too late to gift yourself time with a friend or loved one! And while you’re at it, why not consider adding a healthy element to your time together? Kate Campbell, DPT, RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Outpatient Practice Manager and Physical Therapist, recently shared a special “Valentine’s Day-edition” sample exercise program than can be done with a partner.

Why partner exercise? Partner exercise can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health, while also having fun and building a stronger bond with your partner. It drives benefits such as improved motivation and accountability, better results with partner help and encouragement, a boost in mood and mental health, and exercising with a partner can be more fun and enjoyable than exercising alone!

Campbell emphasizes the physical connection aspect of partner exercise. “Any kind of touch — skin to skin, hugging — anything like that does great things for our body. It lowers negative stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine. And it increases your oxytocin levels, which is that bonding hormone that makes moms and babies feel really close together. This in turn stimulates other feel good hormones like dopamine and serotonin and endorphins. Everyone wants those endorphins. It makes you feel good and happy, and it can even reduce pain. All of this can happen in your brain – just by simple touch!”

Checkout Campbell’s partner exercise video sampling here! (Spoiler alert, Kate still looks amazing in her wedding dress!)







In the end, it’s all about getting your body moving and enjoying the enhanced physical and mental health benefits of spending time with another person. And as the spring season and nice weather approach, don’t forget the benefits of a simple walk, hand in hand, of course!

P.S. – Kate would love to see your partner exercise posts on social media (Facebook or Instagram) or via email (!
P.P.S – If you would enjoy receiving weekly communications on fitness topics, such as this, and other nutrition topics, you may subscribe HERE.

Bad Weather? Unexpected Meeting? No Car?…No Problem for Your Rehab!

If we learned two things from the pandemic, it’s the importance of accommodation and flexibility. We all have busy and complex schedules which can make in-person healthcare appointments difficult – especially if they are only offered during work hours. During the pandemic, many practitioners adapted creative ways to still see patients out of necessity. It is these alternative appointment options, such as telehealth visits and extended hours, that keep many of us healthier today – even in a post-pandemic world!

According to the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Journal, telehealth, especially for physical therapy, has worked wonders for patients. Gone are the days when you would have to cancel an appointment due to weather challenges, not having a ride to your appointment, or other obstacles preventing you from receiving care. Telehealth appointments have allowed patients to have quicker access to care and have allowed practitioners to treat patients within a larger radius of the office.

Research shows that, on average, patients travel about 34 minutes for a healthcare appointment and, as a result, spend 90 fewer minutes working on appointment days. This can be a burden to some, especially if a practitioner recommends multiple appointments. The addition of telehealth and extended hours not only eliminates these obstacles but can improve a patient’s health outcomes without negatively affecting the quality of care received.

RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation and Wellness Center offers extended hours Monday through Thursday (open from 8:20 am to 7:00 pm) as well as telehealth and hybrid (both in-person and telehealth) options to help you get well regardless of scheduling obstacles. To schedule an appointment or inquire about therapy services, please call: 203.438.7862 or email:

Direct Access: What it is and why you want to know about it

Much as a dented car does not get fixed by parking it on the side of the road, nor does a body hindered by injury or pain get healed without attention. Injuries and pain require evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.  Lucky for us, the State of Connecticut offers a healthcare benefit that simplifies the process of getting treated. It’s called Direct Access and it’s a benefit worth knowing about.

Direct Access is a statewide program that eliminates the need for a primary care physician referral prior to seeing a Rehabilitation Therapist. The streamlined process — which allows up to six visits with an RVNAhealth physical therapist at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center without a physician referral — is both cost-effective and allows individuals to enjoy swifter diagnosis and relief. In other words, it helps you get better faster.

This little-known benefit began in Connecticut in 2006 to provide patients more immediate diagnosis and relief.  “Direct Access is an expedited way to get to the root cause and treat, rather than just self-diagnose — or ignore — both of which can prolong the issue but are tempting when the process of getting to a therapist is belabored,” says Gigi Weiss, MSPT, RVNAhealth Director of Rehabilitation Therapies. “Ultimately, Direct Access allows you to get in quickly to increase stability, relieve discomfort, and prevent worsening,”

Weiss encourages those with intermittent pain, mild injury, mobility limitations, or other chronic conditions to leverage the Direct Access program not just for minimization of discomfort but for proper diagnosis and treatment. “Often patients self-treat without success because symptoms are not always representative of the core issue,” says Weiss. “For example, neck issues can present as wrist pain so tending to the wrist won’t address the root cause and won’t provide much relief, especially long term. In many cases, the six visits granted through Direct Access get an individual well on their way to healing.”

Direct access can also benefit individuals with lingering difficulties from a health episode, like swallowing, fine motor skills, or communication. In these cases, Direct Access provides a fast track to restorative visits with an appropriate clinician.

At RVNAhealth, the rehabilitation team also collaborates with insurance providers and primary care physicians to coordinate coverage and treatment so patients can focus on wellness. For more information or to schedule a Direct Access assessment, visit or call  (203) 438-7862.


Let’s Talk Bone Mineral Density

Beating Osteoporosis education

Osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by decreased bone mineral density which can lead to an increased likelihood of fractures from low trauma forces resulting in hospitalizations and decreased quality of life.  According to a 2010 CDC study, more than 10 million adults over the age of 50 had osteoporosis, with women having a higher likelihood (~30% of population, vs. men at ~16%). And with the consideration that osteoporosis increases with age, the lifetime risk of resulting fracture is 50% for women and 20% for men.[1]

Researchers recently took a closer look at the effectiveness of the current clinical practice guidelines and created a new and improved model for treatment. The new research shows that weight bearing exercises (such as walking, yoga, and tai chi) in combination with resistance training of varying loads were most effective in increasing bone mineral density in susceptible fracture locations such as the hips and base of the spine.

These guidelines are not universal. Fitness plans and treatments should be customized by a trained professional for each individual.

RVNAhealth is pleased to offer several upcoming and ongoing programs, aligned to osteoporosis prevention and treatment:

  • Ongoing class: Balance & Beyond – Every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00-1:00pm at RVNAhealth. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle, restoring balance and improving your walk or jog, all while giving your brain a great workout! Learn more and register here.
  • Ongoing class: Strength & Beyond – Every Tuesday 1:00-2:00pm, and every Thursday 11:00am-12:00pm at RVNAhealth. This class is a level up from the Balance & Beyond class and will have you moving through a series of upper and lower body strengthening, functional mobility, balance and cognitive stations all customized to meet your fitness level and goals. Learn more and register here.
  • Past class: Beating Osteoporosis with Targeted Nutrition and Exercise – January 25th from 12:00-1:30pm. Join us at the Ridgefield Library to hear RVNAhealth experts discuss (and demonstrate!) key exercises to optimize bone health and how nutrition can help to prevent and improve Osteoporosis. Come prepared to move! Watch presentation HERE.
  • Past class: Interactive Cooking Class – Three Bone-Building Recipes – January 27th from 4:30-5:45pm at RVNAhealth. Separate myth versus fact on all things osteoporosis and discuss mechanisms to promote bone health while cooking alongside RVNAhealth’s registered dietitian. Check back to our nutrition calendar for future offerings.

If you have questions regarding any of the above programs or would like to schedule an appointment with our therapists to create a program specialized to fit your needs, please contact us at 203.438.7862 or We hope to see you soon!


Parkinson’s Disease and Exercise – An Important Pairing

Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), with 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Chances are you know someone with this degenerative condition. RVNAhealth Physical Therapist, and Outpatient Practice Manager, Kate Campbell, PT, DPT, SCS, Cert. MDT, CSCS, LSVT BIG is on a mission to spread the word about Parkinson’s treatment and early intervention techniques. “Many PD-diagnosed patients are not aware that exercise and physical activity can have tremendous positive impact on the symptoms and progress of Parkinson’s Disease,” says Campbell.

The Parkinson’s Foundation, along with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), recently published an updated recommendation for exercise and physical activity for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This recommendation includes exercise frequency, intensity, time, type, volume, and progression of exercises that are safe and effective. Its suggested activities span across aerobic activity, strength training, stretching, and balance, agility, and multitasking. It also recommends starting any physical activity program with a visit to a physical therapist specializing in Parkinson’s!

“RVNAhealth has invested in research-backed certifications and rehabilitation therapy and exercise programs for those affected by PD,” says Campbell. “We want people diagnosed with Parkinson’s to understand there are proactive steps they can take, within their control, to help slow the progression of the disease. An RVNAhealth Parkinson’s-specialized therapist can help customize and layout those recommended steps.”

RVNAhealth therapists are certified in LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD – research-based, gold standard programs used in the evaluation and treatment of people with Parkinson’s. In addition to offering home-health treatment programs, we also offer treatment and exercise programs at our Ridgefield-based Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. “In alignment with the Parkinson’s Foundation and ACSM exercise recommendations, RVNAhealth offers many types of programs that can benefit anyone affected by PD.  Our weekly classes are open to anyone in the public that would like to register and drop in for a class. While we encourage anyone with PD to engage in healthy, stage-appropriate exercise routines, we really want to spread the word to encourage individuals to start a routine early and often following a PD diagnosis,” says Campbell.

More information about RVNAhealth’s Parkinson’s programs, please visit our website or contact us at 203.438.7862 or

Learn More About Our Current Ongoing Class Offerings Open To The Public:

Balance and Beyond   – Every Tuesday & Thursday, 12 – 1pm. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle, restoring balance, and improving your walk or jog, all while giving your brain a great workout! Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Register here to attend. Nominal fee for each class.

Strength & BeyondEvery Tuesday & Thursday, 1 – 2pm. An ongoing drop-in class (come for one or come for all!) that focuses on building muscle and bones, improving cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and beyond!  Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Register here to attend. Nominal fee for each class.

Living BIG – Ongoing weekly drop-in class. Living BIG addresses the problem of patients’ movements becoming smaller and more tentative as Parkinson’s Disease progresses. Each class, the therapist takes the patient through a series of whole-body LSVT BIG exercises aimed at improving strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Exercises are all exaggerated to reinforce that the patient needs to make his or her movements bigger. Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Email to sign up. Nominal fee for each class.

Living LOUD – Ongoing weekly drop-in class. Living LOUD tackles the soft voice, mumbled speech, monotone speech and hoarse voice that often afflict Parkinson’s patients. Structured activities that work the patient’s vocal range teach them to increase volume without straining their voices.  In each session, the therapist takes the class through a series of rigorous vocal exercises that alternate between loud and soft. Location: RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Email to sign up.  Nominal fee for each class.


Living BIG Classes

Living BIG addresses the problem of patients’ movements becoming smaller and more tentative as Parkinson’s Disease progresses. Weekly activities will include group work as well as individual exercises with other participants facilitated by an LSVT BIG therapist. Classes take the patient through a series of whole-body LSVT BIG exercises aimed at improving strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Exercises are all exaggerated to reinforce that the patient needs to make his or her movements bigger.

To learn more about the Living BIG program, please call (203) 438-7862   or email

Strength and Beyond

As an enhancement to RVNAhealth’s Balance & Beyond classes, we are pleased to present our new class, “Strength and Beyond”!

This class, a level up from our original Balance and Beyond class,  is designed to build strength, restore balance, improve your mobility all while giving your brain a great workout!

This higher intensity interval training class will have you moving through a series of upper and lower body strengthening, functional mobility, balance and cognitive stations all customized to meet your fitness level and goals.

This program is geared towards everyone with a focus of those finding it difficult to start an exercise program or those who need help progressing their current exercise program.  Exercises are also specific for osteoporosis treatment and prevention. What a great way to exercise in a group and meet new people. Bring your friends and exercise together!

Andrea de Lange is experienced Physical Therapist and certified LSVT BIG practitioner with a long history of working with the outpatient orthopedic and neurological population. She possesses a strong background in the treatment of spine, extremity injuries and pain, as well as neurological impairment, with a focus on people with Parkinson’s disease.

RVNAhealth’s Strength & Beyond classes are offered every Thursday from 11:00am-12:00pm at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center located at 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield. Class fees are $30 per class and registration is required in advance, as attendance is limited.  Register HERE. For questions, please contact the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center at 203.438.7862 or