Falls can be very frightening to individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. They generally are dramatic and symbolize a loss of control. One of our major goals as an organization is to educate individuals living with Parkinson’s disease on fall prevention and identify ways to prevent falls.
As I sit here remembering one of the best ski outings I have experienced in recent years, I decided to share my joy with others affected by Parkinson’s disease. The January Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies’ newsletter featured an upcoming Ski Program for people with Parkinson’s sponsored by the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC).
My curiosity was peaked. Just three years prior, I thought I had skied for the last time. It was about this time when my brain started to fail in sending the proper signals to the right side of my body; leaving me at the middle of the mountain waiting to be driven to the bottom by the ski patrol. The pain of that moment was indelible.
*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.
Walking - we take for granted such an automatic task. Put one foot in front of the other. You stroll along at a brisk pace without taking a second thought to it. That is, until you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
The ability to go from point A to point B may become more difficult for you. At first, mobility was not a problem for you. Now, you may be less steady on your feet. You might even be having balance issues or experience a fall. You notice that you have "sticky feet" where you feel your feet are hard to lift up off the ground. You may notice that it takes you longer to walk across a room, decreased arm swing, sudden freezing and difficulties navigating narrow spaces.
At the beginning of the New Year many people make resolutions. A common theme is taking care of your health by watching your diet, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol and starting an exercise program. Sound familiar? "Take care of your health". What does that mean? In the Parkinson's community it is important to include exercise in your daily routine.
Recent research shows that regular exercise can help people with PD stay more flexible, improve posture and make overall movement easier. Some studies even show that an exercise routine can slow or reverse some of the effects of the disease. Regardless of the disease, being fit and active makes everyone have more energy and improves overall health and well being. Everyday exercise, even if it is something simple, will help fight the effects of the disease and make you feel more in control of your condition. It’s recommended that a physical or occupational therapist design a fitness regimen specific to helping your needs, but here are some tips that everyone can use for everyday, at-home exercises:
Come to our next exercise class and get in your daily aerobic exercise! Visit here for more information.
*Referenced from the National Parkinson Foundation booklet, "Fitness Counts".
I woke up Monday morning to a slight buzz throughout my body. “Today is the day!” I thought. I rode the BX bus from Boulder to Market Street Station, then took a quick 16th Street Shuttle ride, and walked a block or so to my destination. The buzz was still present as I walked through the door of the Colorado Ballet and read the note saying “Rhythm & Grace meets in Practice Room C.” I was 30 minutes early for the noon class. “Today is the day!” Wow!
Outdoor activities in the summer can be wonderful. As usual when having a leisurely evening barbeque with family and friends, you are the designated grill master. As you are running in and out of the house to tend to the grill you notice it is not as easy as it was last summer. At times you lose your balance, stumble and even fall. However, you are determined not to lose your place as grill master. You are not going to let Parkinson's disease get in the way. But wait...your balance is not letting you safely tend to the grill. Suddenly you teeter and fall into the grill. Luckily, you did not break anything. You suffered a few bruised ribs and a major punch to your pride. You think, "It was only the one time I fell. It will not happen again....”
People with PD can get better... and stay better longer with exercise!
That is the MOTTO of the Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) Project – a project sponsored by NeuroFit NetWorks (www.nfnw.org). The PWR! Project was started in October 2009 when Dr. Becky Farley, a researcher, LSVT® BIG inventor, physical therapist, neuroscientist, and Parkinson’s exercise specialist opened a model community-based neurofitness center for people with PD in Tucson, AZ (www.pwrgym.org). PWR! GYM Tucson offers early and continuous access to research-based exercise programs that target the motor/cognitive/emotional symptoms of Parkinson disease. Research suggests that early intervention and continuous access to exercise and enrichment will be essential to achieving disease modification. PWR! is about developing community neurofitness centers as integral healthcare components to achieving this goal.
Spring time in the Rockies. What does that mean to you? One can use the analogy of Parkinson's and Spring. The weather is unpredictable in the Spring. There are beautiful days outside. Sometimes, storms which vary in severity. There can be an extreme range of temperatures and conditions. Sound familiar with your own case of Parkinson's. Each one of you may have different extremes on any given day of symptoms. Some days, you may feel like you can't go out because of your symptoms. Other days, nothing can stop you from exploring the outdoors.