Postural instability is a common feature of Parkinson Disease. As a result of delayed reaction time, rigidity, bradykinesia, and poor control of the center of mass, falls occur. Falls are a leading cause of bone fractures, brain injuries, hospitalizations, and mortality of persons with Parkinson Disease. What can YOU do to protect yourself or your loved one from this downward spiral of events?
A great place to start is within your home and/or current living situation. Modifications to your environment can prevent falls with a few simple changes including:
- Installing nightlights to illuminate your path to the restroom at night
- Installing grab bars in your bathroom, in the shower and next to your toilet
- Remove throw rugs throughout your home
- Use NON-skid mats only in the kitchen and bathroom
- Apply NON-skid tape or mats inside of your shower or tub
- DO NOT wear slippery soled shoes, wear shoes with tread instead
- Remove clutter from the ground including magazines and electrical cords
- Rearrange the furniture to provide larger and wider walking paths
- Be sure to lock your walker or assistive device before and during transfers
- Keep your walker or cane parked near your bed if you use one to be available in the morning and at night
- Sit to dress instead of standing and trying to balance on one leg when applying your pants or shorts
- Stay well hydrated to decrease the incidence of postural hypotension
- Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor
- Place frequently used items in the kitchen on shelves that are within arms reach such as on the counter top vs. on a high shelf
- Avoid climbing on ladders or step stools
- Plan your errands and strenuous daily activities to occur when you feel best (earlier in the day vs. later in the day)
- Avoid multi-tasking and do ONE thing at a time such as attending to where your body is in space
- Ask for help!
For additional information regarding fall prevention and balance training, contact Shands at the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorder and Neurorestoration @ 352-294-5400.