Critter Corner: Tips and Resources for Fall Prevention

Dear Hayek,

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago. I know that loss of mobility is one of the unfortunate symptoms of the debilitating disease, which often results in falls. Do you have any tips and resources you can recommend to help me read ahead about fall prevention?

Thanks!

Mo Bilitee

Dear Mo,

As you are aware, Parkinson’s disease affects movement, coordination, and mobility. People living with Parkinson’s often experience freezing of gait, or the temporary, involuntary inability to take a step or initiate movement. As the disease progresses, mobility and balance do not come as naturally as they once did, and falls result.

Falls can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s, but are more likely to occur in the later stages of the disease.
Falls are a common cause of hospital admission for people living with Parkinson’s.

For Parkinson’s patients, to lower the risk of falling:

– Always take medications on time;
– Exercise regularly to help with balance and leg strength;
– Walk to a rhythm (listening to a beat or music can help);
– Focus on long steps when you’re walking;
– Remove hazards in your home, such as mats, rugs or furniture that blocks walkways.

You asked about fall prevention resources. Here are some that I found in my research:

• 6 Ways to Prevent Falls: Video and Infographic
18 Steps to Fall Proofing Your Home – More than 75% of falls take place inside or in close proximity to the home, but your home doesn’t have to be an obstacle course of potential falls. Some simple and quick changes will easily help reduce your risk of falling.
Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers: As a caregiver, you have the power to reduce your loved one’s risk of falling, and your own fall risk as well. This guide will help you learn about fall risk factors and develop a falls prevention action plan.
Stopfalls.org has links to relevant news and resources here.
• National Council on aging has a very comprehensive list here.
• Healthfinder.gov offers “A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults” and other helpful resources.

For more details on what to expect in the later stages of Parkinson’s, visit the Parkinson’s Foundation website or the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Hope this is helpful,

Hayek

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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