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Increasing Mobility Confidence

To increase your confidence moving, you have to move!

For people with Parkinson’s, moving around does not come as naturally as it once did. It might seem counterintuitive, but to increase your confidence moving, you have to move!

  • Build physical activity into your daily routine: Include gardening, housework or washing the car, as you are able.
  • Walk with a friend or family member: A little exercise does EVERY body good.
  • Attend a community exercise program. Call 1-800-4PD-INFO to find an exercise group near you.
  • Move around frequently: If you watch TV, walk during commercials.
  • Put on some upbeat music and dance.

There may come a time when you need extra support. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options.

Getting Around: Canes, Walkers and Wheelchairs

If you experience freezing of gait, there are laser canes and walkers available. These have a laser that projects a line to help cue your steps. In-Step has a laser cane with a triangular rubber tip that is more stable than a standard rubber tip and is easy to put down correctly. (Triangular tip is optional, not pictured at right.)

Canes

  • Get a straight cane with a rubber tip. 
  • Hand grips should be comfortable, and the height of the cane should be adjusted for best support.
  • Hiking sticks or poles are also helpful and can help you keep a better posture while walking. Be sure to consult a physical therapist to determine whether these devices are safe for you.
  • Avoid tripod canes or quad canes (those with three or four-point bases). People with PD tend to have difficulty using these types of canes. They provide less stability, as all points don’t touch the ground at the same time.

Walkers

  • Get a walker with four wheels or more; these offer better stability and make turning easier.
  • Special features such as large wheels, swivel casters and hand brakes provide the most stability.
  • Walkers with built-in seats and baskets can be especially helpful.
  • Avoid four-post walkers, or standard walkers. Picking up the walker to advance it can cause a backward loss of balance.

Wheelchairs: How to choose the right one

Eventually, usually in later stages of PD, a wheelchair may become a necessity. It is important to know what to look for in picking the right chair and who on your comprehensive care team can help assist you make this important decision. Here are a few tips to guide you through the process:

  • Schedule an appointment with your occupational or physical therapist to find out which chair best meets your needs.
  • Check with your insurance company to learn about covered services in your plan. Not all wheelchairs will be covered.
  • Try to pick a lightweight wheelchair, as they are easier to lift in and out of the car. Depending on your needs and your caregiver situation, you might want a wheelchair with more features for the home and a lighter, even foldable, wheelchair for travel.
  • Choose a reclining chair back, which is helpful if you have to make posture changes, have low blood pressure or you need to rest during the day.