For people with Parkinson’s disease, it can be frustrating to do many tasks that we no longer take for granted, but most likely did at some point in our lives. For example, tasting or typing. Writing or walking. Touching your nose or touching your toes. Buttoning a button or zipping a zipper. Fine motor movements and even regular movements can be difficult and often painful.
In the last edition sent by American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, there was an article on the common problem with PD patients writing smaller and often, unreadable script when writing. It’s a common symptom with a non-existent cure. Micrographia, they call it. Micro for minute, graphia for graphics. Minute graphics. The point of the article was to change/improve what was possible about this condition of writing while living with PD. To change something about yourself, your environment, and perhaps the way you write.
There were many suggestions for writing symptoms, but what about helping us to walk better, button better, touch out toes better, etc. Here are a few suggestions along those lines and other areas of improving life with PD. If you have one to share that isn’t listed – something you have found that makes living with PD just a little easier or that will strengthen a skill, please – leave a comment.
- Realize that you most likely cannot write at the same speed you once did and just take your time, concentrating on size and neatness. Going slower takes more time but is less stressful. Also, if you use lined paper to write on, it will serve as a template for letter size and using a pen or pencil with a grip or larger middle with make it easier for your hand and fingers to manipulate. Playing with Playdoh will also serve this purpose (and it’s more fun).
- Force yourself to work on your computer doing card games, brain games, etc. This activity will strengthen not only your hand and finger skills, but your brain as well. And we all know we need stronger brains…
- Decorate cookies – this is like squeezing a stress ball which is also good exercise for the hands and eating them will strengthen our face muscles to avoid that frozen look (not guaranteed).
- Play cards and practice shuffling. Recruit a youngster for a game of Fish.
- Button a multi-button shirt, turn it upside down and then do it again to give the opposite side some exercise. This can be done while watching your favorite TV show.
- Dragon, a software put out by Nuance, has become a popular product that allows you to speak to the computer, typing three times faster than if you wrote it and installs quickly. Amazon carries the latest version (Dragon 11) for about $70 or an older version (Dragon 10) for about $40.
- Reluctant to use, think about the usefulness of a walking stick or cane when you go out. It helps with balance and adds a sense of safety and comes in quite handy for squashing spiders in a flash.
- Consider joining the church choir or a local Tremble Clefs group to strengthen voice muscles. Yelling at your kids’ soccer games counts, too.
- Buy that terrycloth bathrobe you’ve always wanted to make after-showering easier. One woman said that she puts hers on right after showering instead of drying with a towel and by the time she brushed her teeth, the robe had dried her and she didn’t have to fuss with maneuvering a towel to dry off with.
- Use slip on shoes instead of tie shoes you have to manipulate with shoestrings. Besides, they’re easier to slip on and off, hence the name ‘slip-on shoes’.
- Swimming, walking with a partner, and/or riding a bike are great for strengthening muscles and keeping things as loose as possible, while at the same time firming things up.
- To aide in strengthening arm muscles, hug someone each dayat least.
Do you have a suggestion? Share it with a comment below…