Stroke Recovery: How Therapy Can Help

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year.[1]

That leaves many survivors with the tough task of relearning. They have to start parts of their life over as they work on walking, talking, and even processing and remembering as they once did. And, it leaves many family members and loved ones with the challenge of taking this journey with them.

The good news, though, is that there are many caring and capable people willing to help. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists all play an important role in the relearning process.

The damage suffered from a stroke can vary from patient to patient. Each stroke looks different based on how much damage occurred and what part of the brain was affected.[2] Stroke survivors face a variety of problems including pain, numbness, or muscle weakness. These can lead to difficulties with sense of touch and difficulties with swallowing and eating. Problems with language and thinking are very common as well.

Therapy helps patients regain their independence and their ability to take care of themselves. Here are a few ways in which the individual therapies can help recovery after a stroke.

Speech Therapy

Stroke survivors may develop aphasia. They’ll have difficulty speaking, finding words, and understanding what others are saying. Speech therapists use repetition and reading and writing exercises to help survivors learn how to communicate.[3]

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists help with any movement problems. They use exercises and activities to help survivors regain strength, coordination, balance, and control.[4]

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help survivors relearn self-care skills. They focus on daily activities such as bathing, getting dresses, eating and cooking.

The biggest key to success: don’t give up hope! Recovery from stroke is often a long process. Some skills come back quickly and others take more hard work and more time. But, improvements and growth can come even years into the recovery process.







Your Chair is Killing You

Posted in The Baker Beacon

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting,” says scientist and researcher Dr. James Levine. “We are sitting ourselves to death.” And while you may think Dr. Levine is exaggerating, research on the subject backs him up. It shows that prolonged sitting increases the risk of muscular problems, several types of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Why is sitting so harmful?

Sitting over extended periods of time has a huge impact on the body. Your blood circulates slower and you burn less fat. Also, slumping into a chair leaves your back and stomach muscles disengaged. Ideally, you want to keep your muscles working throughout the day and sitting just doesn’t do that for you.

How do we combat our excessive sitting problem?

  1. Make a Plan. Simple lifestyle changes will help but they require a strong commitment to combating the effects of sitting. make a plan and stick to it!
  2. Buy a standing desk. This one small change can make a huge difference keeping you active and avoiding endless sitting.
  3. Walk. Build walking into you life wherever and whenever you can. Turn your meetings into “walk and talk” meetings. Get out for a 15-minute walk on your lunch break. Or, take a walk after dinner as a family instead of sitting in front of the TV.
  4. Stretch every day. Stretching helps with flexibility, posture, injury prevention, increased nutrition, and reduced soreness, but it also relieves tension and increases energy.

Get your family, friends, and coworkers to join-in too! Get moving and you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel!

Caregivers, This One’s for You!

Posted in The Baker Beacon

“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”

—Tia Walker, From The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for those You Love

Caring for a friend or family member that’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, or any other progressive disease is a tough tasks. While maintaining quality care, caregivers also have to deal with their own emotional and physical stress. It’s a balancing act that can lead to overwhelming exhaustion.

For those who have stepped up and stepped in to care for their loved ones, we want to say, “Thank you!” Here are a few tips and reminders to keep in mind as you care for your loved ones.

  1. Find someone to talk to. While you’re there to listen and support your loved one, you also need someone to listen and support you. You need a place where you can talk openly and honestly about how you’re doing. Find a family member or friend that will listen without judging. Support groups are also a great place to connect with and be encouraged by those going through similar circumstances.
  2. Learn as much as you can. Learn all about your loved one’s disease or condition. It will help you better understand symptoms and any changes in behavior when they occur.
  3. Accept Help. You’re just not going to be able to do it all, and there will be times when you’re going to need a break. Create a list of ways friends and family members can help so when they offer you have options. It can even include getting groceries, cleaning, or cooking. There may also be home health care aides, adult care programs, transportation and meal assistance available. Use these resources to give yourself a break for a couple of hours or even one day a week. Any of these options will help you remain healthy as you care for your loved ones.
  4. Don’t expect perfection. You’re not perfect, and you’re not going to get it right all the time. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s okay. Be kind and forgive yourself. Stay realistic about what you can and can’t do and give yourself grace often.

Happy Home Health Care Month!

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Celebrate Home Health Care Month with Baker Rehab Group

Join us this month as we recognize and honor all caregivers, family, and friends that make home healthcare possible!

This year’s theme: “Home is the Center of Health Care.”
“This month we honor all the dedicated nurses, therapists, and aides who provide high-quality health care and supportive services in patients’ homes throughout the United States,” remarks Mr. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). “They make the difference between life and death on a daily basis and are the very personification of ‘caring’.”[1]

Home health care plays a significant role in caring for our aging seniors. Senior adults often wish to remain in their familiar surroundings as long as possible while also maintaining their independence. Home health care offers a solution for both. Senior adults can receive personalized care from caregivers and therapists right in their own home.

For many, home health care is also a more affordable option. Medicare pays nearly $2,000 per day for a hospital stay and $599 per day for a nursing home stay. Home health care, however, costs Medicare just an average of $44 a day.[2] That means senior adults can get a lot more bang for their health care buck!

Here at Baker Rehab Group, we provide in-home physical, occupational, and speech therapy. You can find more information on our webpage:

Finally, help us celebrate by giving a big thank you to the caregivers in your life! We are so grateful for all of the nurses, therapists, aides, friends, and family members that care for our senior adults on a daily basis.




Tips Toward a Better Memory

Posted in The Baker Beacon

“My brain tends to take the scenic route. Things come to the forefront of my mind sooner or later.”[1] We’ve all had those moments where our brain takes a little longer than we’d like. We forget where we left our keys, phone numbers, and sometimes even the names of familiar acquaintances. The good news is, though, memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging. Our minds may take a little longer to process information, but a healthy, active lifestyle helps keep our minds sharp and our memory revitalized.

Physical Exercise:

Exercise plays a large role in mental health. It help your brain operate at its very best by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of disorders that contribute to memory loss such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.[2] So, what type of program should you start? Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine, but here’s a few recommendations. Find something that is daily and aerobic in nature. [3] Take a walk around the neighborhood, choose stairs instead of the elevator, join an exercise class, plant a garden, or find a sport with moderate physical exertion such as tennis. Regular exercise will help you feel and think better.

Mental Exercise:

While physical exercise is essential, don’t underestimate the power of exercising your brain. “If you don’t sufficiently challenge your brain with new, surprising information, it eventually begins to deteriorate,” writes Dr. Mercola. [4]  Look for simple ways in your daily life where you can spend some time exercising your brain. Learn a new hobby, keep up with current affairs, or challenge your brain with fun games and activities through programs like Luminosity and Brain HQ.


Physical and mental exercise may seem like obvious answers towards improving your memory, but here’s one factor you may not have considered: Community! Relationships stimulate the brain and may be the best kind of brain exercise there is. People with the most active lifestyles have the lowest rate of memory decline. [5] Make room for relationships in your life, find a club or volunteer at an organization and boost your brain with supportive healthy social interaction. Get physically, mentally, and socially active, you won’t regret it!








Calcium Supplements vs. a Calcium Rich Diet

Posted in The Baker Beacon

Is a Healthy Diet Better Than Supplements?

The results are in and when it comes to calcium, a healthy diet is better than supplements. After 10 years of analysis on over 2,700 patients, researchers at John Hopkins discovered that taking calcium as a supplement may lead to an increased risk of plaque buildup in arteries as well as heart damage.[1] Although there is not enough evidence to show a direct cause and effect, researchers are warning against excessive or unsupervised use of supplements, especially for the many Americans who take calcium without consulting a doctor.

While tracking participants’ eating habits, supplement intake and plaque buildup, researchers discovered two key trends.

Trend 1:

Throughout the ten-year span, they found that patients taking calcium supplements had a 22 percent increased likelihood of having their coronary artery calcium scores rise higher than zero. In other words, those scores indicate a development of heart disease.[2]

Trend 2:

Participants who consumer a diet high in calcium saw no increase in either risk indicating that your body processes dietary calcium, different than calcium supplements.[3] Researchers doubt that a substantial portion of the calcium from supplements actually makes it to the skeleton. Instead, that excess calcium may be accumulating in the body’s soft tissue including the arteries and the heart leading to further health issues as time passes.[4]

This study adds to the growing concern that some dietary supplements may prove more harmful than beneficial. As research into this topic continues, researchers encourage you to always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.





Celebrating Physical Therapy

Posted in The Baker Beacon

October is National Physical Therapy month and we want to celebrate!

Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association works to educate the public about the benefits of physical therapy and this year’s theme is on pain management. Over 25 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and for many, physical therapy can be a safer alternative for managing long term pain than prescription drugs. [1]

Chronic pain includes any and all aches, pains and discomfort that are persistent for three or more months. Doctors and patients alike are discovering the benefits of physical therapy programs as an alternative to prescription drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. While they can provide relief, they are not a good long-term solution. They are highly addictive, are often accompanied with harmful side-effects and mask pain rather than addressing the underlying issue.

Physical therapists use a variety of strength and motion exercises and conditioning to help manage and alleviate chronic pain.

Physical Therapy gets to the Root of the Issue.

Physical therapists are trained to identify the cause of the pain rather than to just treat the pain. Once the cause is discovered, they use appropriate postural education, ergonomics, body awareness training, flexibility, strength and cardiovascular conditioning to address the issue.[2]

Physical Therapy Creates a Personalized Plan of Care.

Physical therapists work with each individual patient to develop a program specific to their pain. They help set realistic goals and expectations that both the therapist and the patient work to meet over the period of treatment.

So, celebrate physical therapy month with us and help get the word out! If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to your doctor about physical therapy.




Better Diet for a Better Brain

Posted in The Baker Beacon

It’s increasingly clear that your diet significantly impacts your health. There are multiple studies and testimonies showing how healthy diets lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Well now, science has shown that what you eat can also directly impact your brain health. Cognitive decline and the risk for Alzheimer ’s disease or dementia can be reduced simply by eating the right foods. So, are you interested in preserving your mental health? Here are a few foods you should consider including in your diet.

Spinach keeps your brain sharp! So sharp, that your brain will function like it’s five years younger, and you just might be able to complete your crosswords in pen. Studies have shown that 3 or more servings of leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, and collard greens) per day significantly delay mental decline due to aging by slowing it as much as 40%.[1]

Similar to spinach, berries help slow down natural mental decline. Berries work to rid the body of toxic proteins that are associated with age-related memory loss.[2] Blueberries specifically can help to protect the brain from oxidative stress and also may reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age related conditions.[3]

Try adding some salmon, mackerel, and tuna to your diet. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is important to the normal functioning of neurons.[4] Neurons or nerve cells are basic units of the nervous system with approximately 100 billion residing in your brain. Healthy neurons means a healthy brain.

What’s the best diet over all? In individuals in their 70s who stick to a Mediterranean-style diet paired with an active lifestyle are 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who don’t.[5] A Mediterranean diet focuses on eating fruits, veggies, legumes, good fats and fish. Next time you’re at the grocery store or headed out for a bite to eat, look for these options and eat your way to a better healthier brain.




Congratulations, Greg!

Posted in Spotlight on Excellence, The Baker Beacon

Baker Rehab Group would like to offer a big congratulations to our very own Greg Adams for his recent appointment to the Nominating Committee of HPA’s Technology SIG. With all the votes in and counted, Greg learned on September 16, 2016 of his win in the election and new official spot on the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee works to provide candidates for each office in the Tech Special Interest Group (SIG) as well as the Nominating Committee.

The Health Policy and Administrative Section (HPA The Catalyst) is a specialty component of the American Physical Therapy Association. HPA The Catalyst serves about 2,400 HPA/APTA members with special interests in areas including leadership, administration and management, global health, and technology in physical therapy ( Their work includes two special interest groups: Global Health SIG and Technology in Physical Therapy SIG. Greg will be serving his term as a part of the Tech SIG as they work to promote discussion and interest for the use of technology in the health services field.

In his new role, Greg will focus on advancing the field of telerehabilitation for practitioners. “Utilizing present day technology, there are numerous options available to us that would allow therapists to connect to patients through our phones, tablets and computers,” he further explains ( Greg has the opportunity to be officially sworn in on Friday, February 17, 2017 at HPA The Catalyst’s Business Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. His term as a member with the Nominating Committee will run for three years.

Greg AdamsAgain, Congratulations, Greg! We are proud of you in all that you have already accomplished and all that you will accomplish through this new role.

If you would like further information on Greg’s appointment to the committee, HPA The Catalyst, or the Technology in Physical Therapy SIG visit their website at


Dr. Idema on the Joint Success Prehab Plus Program Becker’s Spine Review | May 2016

Posted in The Baker Beacon


Dr. Idema and her team established a program to enhance the spine outpatient process for patients. The “PreHab” program connects spine surgical candidates with their healthcare team weeks before the scheduled surgery. ” Essentially, our healthcare teams go out to the patients’ houses well in advance to work on proper techniques that will be used immediately following surgery,” explains Dr. Idema. Therapists perform full-home assessments, identifying medical equipment needs. They also collaborate with patients and their families to address discharge needs and potential sub-acute rehabilitation facility placements.”By addressing these often overlooked areas for continuity of care, we are able to deliver a more comprehensive patient experience,” says Dr. Idema. “Patients are getting more involved in their patient care experience and are better informed on what they want from providers.”

–Dr. Idema discussing the Joint Success Prehab Plus program in Becker’s Spine Review. Check out the full article here.