*In this post are a few common ways to assist with writing, speaking, issues with freezing and taking medications. What has worked for you? Please respond on our blog with your favorite tips and tricks that help you get along each day with Parkinson’s.
Are you having a difficult time swallowing your Parkinson's medications? Try drinking carbonated water while taking your medications. The carbonation tends to help make swallowing easier.
Is your care partner having a difficult time hearing you when you speak? Think of speaking "LOUDER!" The LSVT therapy was developed in 1987 by Dr. Lorraine Ramig and Carolyn Mead, both Speech Language Pathologists. It was the first specific voice treatment for Parkinson's patients and has been proven to be the most effective treatment for people with Parkinson's disease. The therapy takes place 4 days a week for 4 weeks. It focuses on exercises to help you project your voice. Until you have the therapy, try practicing shouting across the room. You may perceive that you are shouting, when in fact, you are speaking louder so others can hear you better.
Having a hard time reading your handwriting? Does it seem as though your print is smaller and/or difficult to read? Try thinking "BIG!" When you write, try and make larger print. You can also improve the size of your writing by using a ball that squeezes in your hand (stress balls). You can find them at sporting goods stores. This helps strengthen your fingers and assisting with your fine motor skills. Another tip is stretching your arm out and "catching flies". This increases coordination, your thought process and ability to actually write.
Are you having difficulty with freezing? You are stuck - unable to move forward! Try taking a step backwards or to the side to help break the freeze. Sometimes it helps by singing, counting or thinking of your favorite food. Remember that freezing is not permanent. You will be okay. Try not to panic. Relaxing helps break the freeze.
Do you feel like your balance is getting worse? Have you had frequent falls? Try standing with your feet further apart. This helps keep you sturdy and stable. If you find that you are holding onto furniture, walls and counters or hanging onto your partner to get around, it may be time to use a cane or walker. Using a cane or walker does not symbolize "Parkinson’s", it symbolizes independence.
Cari's Corner will now be found on the blog instead of the Parkinson's Association of the Rockies newsletter, the ParkinsonVoice. Connect with us!
Cari Friedman, LCSW
Patient and Family Services Director
Cari's advice is, as expected, very good. After having DBS surgery,I no longer "freeze", but when I did, I found that I could walk sideways even when I couldn't move forward. I termed myself a "rugby Parkie" because in the game of rugby, forward passes aren't allowed - only lateral (sideways) passes or passes backward. These are probably the only two rules I truly understood even after watching my sons play rugby for seven years!