I truly enjoy my email subscription to parkinsonsnewstoday.com and the varied articles they send me. Some articles are highly technical, some are practical, and some are personal. So, I comb through them for things to share with you.
A recent article was about exercise, especially its benefits to all stages of persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Exercise in the early stages of PD has been proven to slow the progression of the disease. That is now a “given.” But even after reading this article, I was skeptical when the doctor recommended physical therapy for my husband, who is now in his 20th year since diagnosis.
We had both noticed a sudden and rapid decline of his strength and mentioned it to the doctor. She prescribed physical therapy, and we began a new regimen about a month ago. I chose to take him to Benchmark Physical Therapy at a location near our home, and he has really enjoyed it. (Over the last 19 years, 16 of which I worked outside our home, we had physical therapists come to the house during the day to exercise with him. And while he benefited slightly from that, he never felt they really helped him.) He much prefers going “out” to a facility because they have more equipment and lead him through a variety of exercises. This wears him out physically, but he still enjoys going.
Have we seen an improvement in his strength? Not really. But if he enjoys going and interacting with other people, it is a positive experience. Is it more work for me? Yes, because I have to get him up, dressed, fed, and pills taken before we go. But at the same time, it gives me about 50 minutes to run errands or do something else while he is there. So, it’s a win-win situation!
Another article I read recently was about singing. It sparked my interest because my husband and I have sung together many times before Parkinson’s. We both enjoy listening to music, playing the piano, and singing, but we haven’t done much of that in the last few years.
The article mentions several benefits noticed in Parkinson’s patients who participated in this program. One was increased respiratory facility. It helped with their breathing. Another advantage was in their speech. Many participants had not met with a speech therapist in the past, but after singing with this group several times, their speech improved.
The social aspect of singing was a benefit that was significant, even though it is difficult to measure. There is a camaraderie that exists in a group that performs together – whether for others, or just in a rehearsal atmosphere. Perhaps we could try this at our support group meetings!
The last article I’d like to share is one of great hope. Patients are living longer with Parkinson’s due to better medications and better care. That is a fact. In addition, this article gives hope for slowing, stopping, or even reversing Parkinson’s Disease in the future. That is great news!
In the meantime, we cannot give up. We are on this journey together with many caregivers all over the world who gain strength from each other. That is the purpose of this blog. Whatever you are experiencing today is felt by many others, and we want to walk with you through it. You are not alone.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting. We are stronger together.