Stacey Hodges, OT
Although we are almost two months past April and Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, it is always timely to recognize a neurological disorder that affects so many. In my community in Iowa, there are many individuals who have been impacted by this debilitating diagnosis. As the director of rehab services at the hospital, I have grown to know some of these individuals well and have been impressed by their drive to continue to fight this disease on a daily basis.
As an Occupational Therapist, I have treated patients struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and have helped to educate them on the importance of exercise and stretching so they do not lose their mobility and flexibility. Once a patients’ balance becomes impacted with rigidity and their feet do not move the way they want, they can become sedentary. This causes weakness and more balance issues.
The president of the local Parkinson’s Group in our town has been struggling with this diagnosis for four years. He tries to promote exercise to his friends who attend the monthly meetings. He is dedicated to improving his quality of life along with others who are struggling with this disease. He has worked with our Occupational Therapy Team to incorporate a monthly workout program so the individuals in the group learn various exercises to promote trunk rotation, sequencing for their gait, balance recovery using a balance machine at our facility, and how to slow the effects with appropriate exercises.
The poster child of their group has been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for 12 years. She attends our therapy office almost daily during the week using the equipment through the private pay program we have established at our facility. If you didn’t know her, you would not know that she has Parkinson’s. I believe this shows that exercise and dedication pays off in the end.
Anyone with Parkinson’s Disease can benefit from therapy services to establish an exercise program to improve quality of life.
Contact your local hospital or therapy department to find someone trained and educated on neurological disorders to establish an exercise program that will address the areas needed to have a successful program.