MEET OUR TEAM – TWIN CITIES


Allison Bakke, MA, OTR/L

Allison

Allison is the Founder and President of Above & Beyond Senior Services. She is a licensed occupational therapist in the State of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Certificate in Gerontology, Minor in Psychology, and Master’s in Occupational Therapy from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.

Upon graduation, Allison worked for many years as an occupational therapist and rehab manager in short-term and long-term rehabilitation in many skilled nursing facilities throughout the Minneapolis metro area. Throughout the years Allison saw a strong need for therapy services outside the traditional Medicare/insurance model. This led to the creation of Above & Beyond as a new model for senior rehabilitation therapies. An approach that incorporates prevention, strengthening, wellness, and joyful engagement in life, using both physical and occupational therapy. Allison’s geriatric areas of expertise are in dementia and memory loss and helping families grow in their understanding of the various disease processes that cause dementia.

Allison was born and raised on a family farm near Moorhead, MN to a dad who was a farmer and business owner and a mom who was a baker. Throughout her childhood Allison’s parents taught her the value of hard work and respect for the wisdom of older generations. She remains a farm girl at heart and definitely gets her entrepreneurial spirit from her dad.

Allison is a proud wife and mom. Along with her husband Jason, Allison has 2 wonderful boys. She loves to spend her free time with family and volunteering. In the summer the Bakke’s can be found spending time at the cabin fishing and boating. The rest of the year is spent watching her boys play soccer and basketball and sing in the Land of Lakes Choirboys. If there is any time left after all of that Allison loves to travel with her husband or entertain friends and family at home with food ranging from home-style to gourmet.


Carolyn Blake, PT, GCS

Carolyn

Carolyn is a physical therapist who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 1989. Having been involved in athletics most her young life she started her career in sports medicine and occupational health in Little Rock, Arkansas.

She returned to her home state of MN and worked in an orthopedic spine clinic, helping people avoid, or rehabilitate from spinal surgeries. It was not long after that she found her heart’s desire in the field of homecare where she has focused her education and work since 1995. She began seeing the connections from her earlier work to her practice with the elderly, who in her words “are athletes in the sport of life!” In 2006, she became board certified as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist. Her geriatric practice expertise is in balance and fall prevention as well as strengthening and general fitness. In 2013, Carolyn became a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults.

Born and raised in small town Minnesota to a mother who was a nurse, and a father who was a family physician, Carolyn has a natural ability in helping others succeed and find fun and joy in their own physical endeavors.

Carolyn enjoys sports adventure travel, which has led her to hang gliding in New Zealand, hiking on volcanoes in Iceland, and rappelling down waterfalls in Costa Rica. She also enjoys painting, particularly animal portraits.


Janna Wold, OTR/L

Janna

Janna is an occupational therapist at Above & Beyond Senior Services. She received her Master of Occupational Therapy in 1993 from TWU in Dallas, Texas. Her career began in a hospital in-patient rehabilitation setting. She then moved on to spend approximately 20 years in long term care/short-term rehabilitation and is now enjoying home health therapy.

Home health has opened her eyes to the challenges that may persist after that first great hurdle of “getting back home” from a hospital or rehab setting is achieved. In her time working with Above and Beyond, Janna has enjoyed working with clients in their home settings, doing what matters most to them and helping them to function as independently and safely as possible.

Janna’s specialty areas include working with neurological patients, as well as those with cognitive deficits. In 1996, she had the opportunity to participate in specialized training in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. NDT is a treatment method used in stroke and head-injury rehabilitation. She has also had extensive training in cognitive assessment and treatment for people who have dementia.

Along with her career, Janna’s family is very important to her. She married her husband in 1991 after they both graduated from Bethel College in Arden Hills, MN. Janna enjoys walking the dog, traveling, boating, Twin’s games, music concerts and good food with her husband and two sons. She also enjoys reading and her book club.


Suzan Aksoy, PT

Suzan Egan

Suzan is a physical therapist at Above & Beyond Senior Services. She received her degree in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991. Suzan has had experience in orthopedics, pediatrics, neurology, and geriatrics throughout her years as a physical therapist. She feels that she has found what she was meant to do in private, in-home therapy.

Suzan also is a certified yoga instructor and enjoys combining her knowledge of physical therapy with yoga to help her patients succeed. She feels that she is very blessed to be able to focus and help people to live active and strong lives, as long as possible. Suzan has a special affinity for working with people with dementia, perhaps due to the fact that her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for seven years.

Suzan grew up in Edina, MN with a father from the country of Turkey that was a physician, and an American mother that was a nurse anesthetist. She has two older sisters. Suzan and her family traveled many times to Turkey while she was growing up to visit family. Her family continues to live in the area, with the exception of one sister living in Utah.

When not working, Suzan spends her time with her three children who are now teenagers. They keep her very busy. She also enjoys having pets and has two dogs, a cat, and a canary at home. Suzan and her children and their pets live in Oakdale, MN. When she and her children have time off they enjoy spending time at the family cabin in the summer, boating, swimming, and having bonfires. Suzan continues to enjoy yoga when she gets time, playing and listening to music, and traveling when possible.


Lori Wisnewski, PT

lori

Lori is a physical therapist who earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1993. Prior to her graduation, she had also worked for 3 years as a physical therapy assistant.

She initially got interested in the field of physical therapy as a child after watching and assisting her mother in rehab following a stroke at the young age of 38. Lori has worked extensively throughout her career with neurologically and orthopedically involved clients in a variety of settings, including: acute care, post-acute care, long-term care, and inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation centers in Kansas and Tennessee. Lori is trained in Neurodevelopmental Treatment Technique and while in Germantown (a suburb of Memphis) served as the Director of Rehabilitation Services encompassing the physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapy departments as well as prosthetics/orthotics, and pastoral care areas of care at a freestanding rehab hospital.

The one constant throughout her varied career has been Lori’s passion for seniors. She strives to help them improve or maintain their mobility, function, safety, and quality of life. This means helping them be successful at the activities that are most important to them.

A Southern girl at heart, born and raised in Texarkana, Arkansas, Lori moved to Memphis, TN for her first job. There, she met and married her husband, Paul. They remained in Memphis until moving with their two children (now teenagers) to Minnesota in 2004. She loves life in the “frozen north”! In her free time, she enjoys watching her son play tennis and her daughter play hockey and lacrosse. She is an avid reader, plays tennis, and enjoys being with her family and friends.


Claudia Westholder, PT

claudia

Claudia is a licensed physical therapist at Above & Beyond Senior Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and Master’s of Physical Therapy from the Mayo School of Health-Related Sciences in Rochester, MN in 1996.

Upon graduation, Claudia worked for eight years as a physical therapist at Hennepin County Medical Center where she had the opportunity to treat patients in all settings: rehabilitation, acute care, and outpatient/orthopedic. In addition, Claudia has worked for many skilled nursing facilities throughout the Minneapolis metro area providing short-term rehabilitation and long-term care. Claudia’s greatest satisfaction comes from the personal relationships that she builds with her clients and how much those connections help motivate them to regain or maximize their physical potential in order to maintain independence.

Having had an influential grandmother living with her family growing up, Claudia has a special place in her heart for seniors. She feels enriched by each senior’s “story” and words of wisdom that only comes from years of experience.

Claudia and her husband, Mark, have been married for more than fifteen years and love to travel with their three children, Caroline, Luke and Joe. In her free time Claudia enjoys being outdoors, preferably by a body of water. As a former Division I swimmer at the University of Michigan, she remains very active in other sports such as tennis, volleyball and running. Claudia is also trilingual, speaking English, Portuguese and Spanish.


Shelly Howe, MSPT

Shelly Howe

Shelly, an Omaha native, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science at the University of Kansas where she also played volleyball for the Jayhawks. She earned her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1992. She was the recipient of the PT Clinical Excellence Award for her graduating class.

She ventured to Salt Lake City upon graduation taking her first job. She relocated to Minneapolis in 2003 to be closer to family. She has practiced in a variety of settings including acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient and community based neurologic rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. Her experiences and continuing education have given her an opportunity to develop strong clinical skills that are applicable in treating people at all stages of life. She is a certified Neurodevelopmental Technique (NDT) therapist and has a passion for treating persons with neurologic disorders.

She recognizes the importance of family and team communication in optimizing her client’s goals and quality of life. Shelly’s passion is to provide clients the independence and function needed to stay engaged in their home and community.

Shelly stays active with her 2 boys by volunteering at school, and teaching balance classes. She and her husband of 17 years enjoy spending time outdoors including hiking, gardening, and playing on the lake.


Michelle Jung, PT

Michelle Jung

Michelle grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Physical Therapy at the University of North Dakota in 1995.

After graduation, Michelle moved to Wausau, WI to start her therapy career.  In 1999, she moved to the Minneapolis area to be closer to her extended family.  With over 24 years of physical therapy experience, she has found her passion in gerontology, neurology, and dementia care.  Michelle believes in being a strong advocate for her patients and their families during their life journey and strives to serve with a kind and caring heart.  In 2016, Michelle started a private home care business which provided companionship and aid in household tasks for seniors.  However, she realized her physical therapy skills could provide more functional benefit to her clients and has returned to performing hands on therapy specifically in clients’ homes.

Some of Michelle’s fondest memories are the summers she spent at the farm with her Grandparents and Great-Grandparents.  They instilled pride, demonstrated hard work, shared their wisdom and were never short on love.  She became keenly aware of nature’s progression in aging as she witnessed and participated in the challenges that come from caring for loved ones with sickness, injuries, and dementia.

Michelle and her husband, Jeff have three children who have kept them busy as they have cheered them on and volunteered with sports, dance, school and church events.  When they find time to relax, Michelle enjoys walks or hikes outdoors, traveling, gardening, and any time they can get to boat, ski, paddleboard or be with family and friends at their cabin in southern MN.


Karen Johnson, MPT

Karen Johnson

Karen is a physical therapist who received both her bachelor’s degree in health sciences (1991) and her master’s degree in physical therapy from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN (1993).

Karen is from Forest Lake, MN and was always very active in competitive sports. She went on to play basketball and volleyball in college and her love of sports is what initially drew her into a career in physical therapy.

Karen’s PT career includes over 23 years of experience in outpatient orthopedics. Although she enjoyed her time in the outpatient setting, she eventually followed her heart back to working with seniors. She is committed to treating every client with kindness and respect and feels that everyone is able to improve their strength and level of fitness at any age.

Karen has 4 daughters (Olivia, Natalie, Isabelle and Violet). They enjoy summer family road trips to various National Parks, traveling to the Arizona desert in the winter, camping, hiking and dinners on their patio.


Cindy Schlafmann, PT

Cindy Schlafmann

Cindy is a physical therapist who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Mayo School of Health-Related Sciences- Program in Physical Therapy in Rochester MN in 1990.  She then received her transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Regis University in Denver, CO in 2011. She has practiced in outpatient and sports medicine settings as well as skilled nursing facilities for both short and long-term rehabilitation throughout the Twin Cities. She has been a manager in many of these settings and has developed many specialty programs over the years.   She uses her passion for sports, fitness and movement when working with all clients, no matter their age.  She uses a gentle, but challenging approach to maximize their abilities to remain safe in their living situation.  In addition to being a PT, Cindy is also an athletic trainer at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis and coaches their track team.

Cindy was born and raised in Canby, MN to a dad who is a farmer and a mom who stayed at home, taking care of the family.  She developed a strong work ethic through her years helping her parents with the fieldwork.

Outside of work, Cindy enjoys spending time with her husband and son.  They enjoy traveling as well as being out on the pontoon entertaining friends.  She also enjoys gardening, running, biking, cross country skiing and competing in triathlons.


Megan Dickman, PT

Megan Dickman

Megan is a physical therapist who earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2017. During her time in graduate school, she gained experience working across all spectrums of healthcare and ages, but discovered a special interest in working with older adults.

Upon graduation, she was accepted into the University of Minnesota’s Geriatric Residency Program. Throughout her clinical residency, she had the opportunity to learn from a variety of specialists within the field of Geriatric healthcare as well as have clinical experience working in a transitional care unit (TCU) and outpatient physical therapy. Following her residency, Megan worked in home health, providing physical therapy to older adults with a wide array of clinical needs, including post-surgical, post-hospitalization, falls, or general decline in functional mobility, strength and balance. Megan became a Board Certified Clinical Specialist of Geriatric Physical Therapy in 2019.

Megan credits a large part of her passion for older adults to the close relationships she had with her grandparents. She is very passionate about holistic care as well as health, wellness and prevention for older adults. She strives to help them reduce falls and hospitalization, maintain quality of life and continue participating in the things they love and enjoy.

Spending time with her husband Adam, family and friends is very important to her. Megan also enjoys staying active through Crossfit, running, traveling, paddle boarding and walking her dog, Ollie.


Sue Groen, PT

Sue was born and raised in Bloomington, MN. She received her Physical Therapy degree at Northwestern University in Chicago. After graduating, she worked in Los Angeles and Detroit before returning to the Twin Cities. After returning to Minnesota, Sue worked in acute care hospital settings for a number of years. Most recently, she worked at Presbyterian Homes TCU and Home Care before coming to Above & Beyond Senior Services. Sue received her NDT certification (Neurodevelopmental Technique) at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley.

Sue has a passion for neurological rehab and helping seniors live to their fullest potential! She enjoys collaborating with her clients and their families – empowering them live out their lives with grace and dignity.

Sue has been married for 27 years to her lifelong love and best friend, Jeff. Together they have 3 grown daughters; two are married, and they have 2 grandkids. She loves her sweet Irish-doodle, Rosey! Sue enjoys any and all family time: games, hiking, boating, camping throughout the US, and adventures beyond! Sue is very involved in her church – especially mentoring young moms. She also treasures quality time with her dear friends and you might just run into Sue at a local coffee shop.


Kim DeLawyer, OTR/L

Kim is an occupational therapist who earned a MA in Occupational Therapy from the College of St. Scholastica. After graduating, she worked for a couple years in MN with adults in both outpatient and acute inpatient settings. In 2003, Kim moved to San Antonio, TX where she worked in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, primarily with neurologically impaired, spinal cord injured, and multi-trauma patients. She found her calling working with people to improve their function and independence! Kim enjoyed working in this setting for 13 years, but decided to try something new and accepted a job in the school system, working with children in Special Education. This allowed her to have more flexibility and time with her family during summer break and other school holidays.

After 16 years in Texas, Kim and her husband John decided to return to Minnesota to be closer to their families. They, along with their three boys, are adapting to the change of seasons and participating in all the outdoor activities they can find. They keep busy attending sporting events, participating in Cub/Boy Scout activities, fishing, boating, traveling, and spending time with family in the Twin Cities and Northern WI. In her spare time, she competes in running events from 5K to marathons, as well as triathlons. Her biggest athletic accomplishment to date is finishing her 1st Ironman Triathlon! Kim is excited to again be helping adults achieve their goals and live a productive life by doing the activities that are important to them and their families.


Amy Eklund, PT

Amy Eklund

Amy Eklund is a physical therapist who graduated from College of St. Scholastica in 2009 with her Doctorate in physical therapy. Since then, Amy has worked in a variety of setting including, TCU, LTC, acute care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. In 2015 Amy received her Neurological clinical specialty designation and is trained in Neruo-IFRA, a specific facilitation technique for people with neurologic issues. Amy has found a passion working with people with a variety of Neurologic conditions including stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and various balance impairments.Besides being a physical therapist, Amy is also a certified group fitness instructor. She is trained in Barre and Pilates and also is a high school dance coach. The variety of skills Amy possesses from each of these roles has really helped her cater to a variety of clients and provide a well-rounded and motivational experience for people she works with.

Amy grew up in Corcoran, MN and now lives in Bloomington with her husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs (Bert and Ernie). She enjoys running, biking and being out on the water. In the summer you will find her spending her time at their family cabin in Alexandria swimming in the lake or on the boat!


Allison Mann, OTR/L

Allison Mann

Allison is an occupational therapist who completed her graduate degree at the University of Minnesota in 2012. She played Division III soccer at UW-Eau Claire, where she earned her BS in Kinesiology and found her passion for working with older adults through a community fitness program. She was responsible for the design, implementation, and assessment of exercise plans for adults 65 and older.Allison has worked in hospital, skilled nursing, cooperative assisted living, and home care environments. Working in home care is where Allison thrives – creatively helping older adults live as safely and independently in their home environment. Having two sets of supportive grandparents who lived in their homes well into their 80’s is an important reason Allison wants to help older adults age in place.

Allison took a year off from direct patient care and used her clinical knowledge to assist with post-acute hospital placement. This challenged the self-described introvert and provided the opportunity to broaden her professional scope in the areas of marketing, sales, and business development.


Ashley Cornelius, OTR/L

Ashley Cornelius

Ashley is an occupational therapist who earned her degree from the University of Minnesota in 2016. She has worked in the TCU setting and at Courage Kenney Rehab Institute where she worked with individuals with neurological diagnoses. Ashley completed a research study titled Effects of One-on-One Fatigue Management Course for Persons with Chronic Conditions, which was later published. Ashley is excited when able to apply her knowledge and conclusions from this research to make a positive impact on the lives of her clients.Ashley was born and raised in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is an only child and grew up close to her family. Her grandparents always played a big part in her life, which has given her a passion for working with seniors. She relocated to Minnesota to pursue her degree in Occupational Therapy. She met her husband while volunteering at People Serving People in Minneapolis. Ashley and her husband live in Forest Lake with their son and daughter. Diesel, their golden retriever adds another dimension to the busy household!

Ashley loves spending time with her kids and watching them grow and transition through each new phase of life. She enjoys staying active, sharing monthly date nights with her husband, spending time with family and friends, and exploring around the Twin Cities to take advantage of all the great activities the city has to offer!


Amy Griffith, PT

Amy Griffith

Amy is a physical therapist who received her bachelor’s degree in biology and exercise science from St. Olaf in 1987 and her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of MN in 1989.Amy has 30 years of Physical Therapy experience in a variety of settings, including the hospital in acute care and rehab, TCU, and home health care providing physical therapy for older adults with a variety of clinical concerns and needs. She enjoys supporting and motivating her clients to reach their fitness and mobility goals. Amy’s passion is to assist her clients in their desire to remain independent in their homes and continuing to participate in the activities that fulfill their lives.

Amy feels her love of working with seniors comes from her close-knit relationships with her grandparents. She loves the wisdom and life experience her clients share during their time together.

Amy has been married to her high school sweetheart for 33 years and they have 2 adult sons who they enjoy spending time with up north at their cabin. She also loves to bike, hike and kayak or almost anything that involves spending time outdoors in nature.