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Topic Adaptive furniture Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By Daddysgirl On 2013.10.01 22:04
My father leans horribly and it's a constant battle. Pillow don't work very well at all. I've tried researching some adaptive furniture to offset this, but I can't find anything. I know he's not the only "leaner"...what are some solutions and/or web pages for adaptive furniture?

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.10.02 00:10
Daddysgirl, Welcome to the forum. The first question in finding answer is does your father complain about the leaning? We patients all lean to some degree or another. Parkinson's twists us "out of shape" and while it might look very uncomfortable to those taking care of us it becomes part and parcel to our lives. There isn't much to be found adaptive wise because to stop or "brace up" against the lean will be fighting against the cramping or twisting (Dystonia) of the disease. When this is done it can cause damage to our muscles, tendons and even bones. Our shoulders hunch, we lean forward with some our arms draw up bent at the elbows (think of a kangaroo's arms for a visual). If we tried to correct everything P.D. does to shift our shape We'd be strapped to a board while the straps bit into our bodies as the contortions fought against the bindings and we would certainly be in pain and more pain than from leaning. I know you have your Fathers best interests at heart but most times the trying to correct something hurts more than the problem. I'd run it by His Neurologist for the Doc's thoughts and ask your Dad if it hurts before trying to correct the uncorrectable. Again welcome to the forum all here will try to help anyway they can. Keep posting any questions you have. Take care, best of luck and hang in there

By Mary556 On 2013.10.02 21:03
Greetings, Daddysgirl. Lohengr1n is very wise. Trust his assessments and advice.

My PWP Mom has some forward and backwards leaning as our friend described. I believe she also has a different sort of sideways "leaning" that is not from PD, but from gravity. (If I am mistaken, someone more knowledgeable please correct me.) Anytime my mother falls asleep in her easy chair, she will go into an extreme slump toward her left side... falling over the arm of her chair, neck at a sharp 45-degree angle to her torso, the weight of her head not supported at all. My Dad especially could not bear to see her in that contorted position that looked so uncomfortable and unhealthy to us. I worried that her airway was compromised or that she would hurt her spinal cord.

What has worked well for my mother is a "triangle pillow" that her own mother sewed many years ago. It looks something like this:
(the light-colored plaid pillow in the far left corner)

Mom sets it on the arm of her chair, verticle instead of horizontal, to keep her from tipping over too far. The dimensions of ours are 17 x 15" for the front rectangle and 9" height/width for the triangle sides. This type of pillow would need to be supported by nearby furniture or some makeshift prop to keep it from falling off the chair.

Ready-made, here is a pillow that looks somewhat similar to me:

My Mom has made a little nest out of her living-room chair with multiple cushions, bolsters as armrests, cervical neckrolls, etc.. She kept experimenting until she found the right combination and now she looks very comfortable in there.

I may have totally misunderstood your question and apologize if I did.
God bless you and your Dad.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.10.02 23:58
Much of the sideways leaning comes from Parkinson's also it is Dystonia, what is interesting is the way it is seen. Many Patients if asked say they are okay and it isn't hurting them. The way the question was asked and in the response given (now please those reading this don't think I'm picking on anyone or singling out any one I'm not and at times I'm misunderstood when I answer some questions like this one) To those without P.D. the caregivers and families We look uncomfortable and so it is thought that or assumed We are uncomfortable. Because of when you look at us and perceive uncomfortable you try to fix it so We look to you as your version of comfort. Your Mom Mary seems to have found a middle ground with her pillows and as you say she looks more comfortable to you now.

A few years ago on Oprah, MJF was on and a Woman with Dystonia. They were talking about being twisted and at odd angles compared to normal people. Each was laughing about eating out in restaurants, as staring out they were sitting upright and by desert they were slid almost out of the chair bent at odd angles. Much to the dismay of the staff, when asked if they needed assistance or help they'd reply no thank you this is the way I get at times from my disease. They looked alarming and like they had drunk themselves under the table! But they were not in pain at the time and could be relaxed if left to themselves. Although at times Dystonia can and does hurt but not all the time. We should ask if it is uncomfortable before trying to prop us up..........although it is hard for loved ones to look at maybe as we view it as part of Parkinson's Disease if we compare leaning to tremor you'd never think of tying weights to our hands to try to stop them or tie our hands down. It's the same with leaning forward or to the side. Take care, best of luck and hang in there

By Mary556 On 2013.10.03 17:11
Lohengr1n, thanks very much for explaining about dystonia. It is very helpful to have your perspective. I am always happy to be educated, to understand better and not mislead anyone else.
It did not occur to us that my mother's sideways leaning could be from PD also. She only ever slumps over like that when she is asleep, so we could not ask her how she felt. A couple of times my Mom has fallen and she is an older person, so we tend to be more watchful of her. My Dad would always tell me to wake Mom up when he saw her tipping over so far. We did not want to disturb her but thought it was for her own good. Yes, my mother's arrangement of cushions seem to be making all of us more comfortable now. If her dystonia ever increases, we will know to give her more leeway and not stress about it.
We are grateful for your insights!

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