If you have Parkinson’s, you may experience some difficulties with your daily activities. However, planning your day carefully and keeping your environment clutter-free can make a big difference to the flow of movement in Parkinson’s. The trick is paying attention to what you are doing, breaking down the sequences and using cues (external and auditory) to guide movement.
As a thumb rule, use non-slip mats in shower or bath. Lit night lights when going to the toilet. And, free up walking spaces at home by positioning furniture against the wall. Here are some movement tips that may help.
Taking bigger steps
Basic everyday movements that normal people find effortless pose a challenge for people with Parkinson’s. If you have the neurodegenerative disorder, it’s natural to walk slower and take more steps to cover a certain distance. To take bigger steps, think about taking bigger steps. Now, step over visual or imaginary lines on the floor, landing heel first before toes.
Breaking the Freezing of gait
Whenever you feel that your shoes are stuck to the floor, stop, stand upright and take a deep breath. Shift your weight from side to side. This should free up the weight on the leg. Now, think about taking bigger steps or step over visual or imaginary lines on the floor, landing heel first before toes.
Navigating the narrow spaces
If you have difficulty walking in narrow spaces, try walking sideways. Focus on walking and think about taking bigger steps. Remove clutter that is blocking your way. Free up obstacles from the floor like shoes and electrical cables.
If you have trouble turning while walking, walk around in an arc and avoid quick sharp turn. Use the clock face strategy. If you are required to turn in a narrow space, do so in sideways.
Getting in and out of the chair
If you face trouble getting in and out of a chair, learn strategies to sit in a chair first. Walk towards the chair and use the clock face strategy and turn/or march to turn. Do this until the back of your knees touches the chair. Now, lean forward, bend your knees and sit down slowly.
To stand out, tuck your feet in under your knees, move to the front of the chair by shifting your weight from side to side. Lean forward, lift your bottom and stand.
Getting in and out of bed
If you face any difficulty in getting in and out of bed, first learn to lie on the bed. Slowly lower yourself to a seated position, lean on your forearm, slowly lower onto your side and bring your legs up at the same time. Roll onto your back, keep your knees bent and shift your feet, hips, and shoulder to the middle of the bed.
To get out of the bed, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the bed. Move yourself to the edge of the bed by shifting your feet, hips, and shoulders. Roll to your side, slide your legs off the bed and push yourself to sit up, using your arm.