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By lurkingforacure On 2015.09.30 12:43
Well, we now fall. The first fall to me is a significant point in this disease, as it seems (from everything I have read)that once you fall, you will fall again, and life with PD will be different, more dangerous, more risky, and much more scary. We now face the next fall: when will it happen, and where, and will he get hurt? We look for dangers and risks we didn't think of before, and everything is shifted in yet another way because of this disease.

That first fall was an undeniable point at which we have had to realize that everything we have done to slow progression has been maxxed out, and we're now at the falling stage.

I could tell at our last neuro appt. (before the fall, oddly) that the doctor looked at my husband differently. Before, he was always happy at how well he seemed to be doing, told him to keep doing whatever he was doing, and renewed the script and we were on our way. But this last time, my husband could not hide the progression, and it was heartbreaking to see the doctor's change in demeanor. My husband immediately picked up on it as well, and the resignation in his face killed me.

What is strange about my husband's falls (and he has had a few more since that first one, sadly), is that he says he will put his hands out to catch the wall, or chair, or whatever, but miss it and still fall. I think he cannot judge the distance correctly, so he will see the chair right by his hand, but it is actually two feet away.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and if so, can we do anything about it? I know we can't do anything to fix his balance issues (yet, always hoping), but is there anything to help with his depth perception so that if he is losing his balance and reaches out to grab something, it's actually there?

By LOHENGR1N On 2015.09.30 13:43
Lurking, are you sure it is depth perception? I'm more inclined to suspect it is reaction time. Our reflexes slow with Parkinson's. That is why driving becomes dangerous, we can't react quick enough, we think we do but we don't. Sounds like what is going on with the reaching for the chair or wall. He's reacting, reaching but as he does it's too late too slow. It should be fairly easy to tell which is happening. Keep an eye out during the day casually does he reach for a sandwich and miss it? Or a pen or pencil reach short or over reach? Does he miss the soup bowl with his spoon dipping the spoon in the air? Things like that would indicate depth perception issues. If he doesn't do these things then it is in all probability reaction time or reflex has slowed in the course of the disease. Things that may help this are standing or walking closer to the chair or wall (myself when I'm alone, most of the time) I walk down my hall with one shoulder on the wall sliding along bracing so as not to fall if my balance goes. You know the layout of your home and if it is a slowed reflex reaction causing the falls you can rearrange chairs for walking closer to stablizing areas. Practice walking closer to chairs to make up for the delayed reaction by shortening distance. This should help some.

By dans316 On 2015.09.30 20:08
In 2010 when my wife was going for therapy for her broken hip, they used to put her on a mat for different exercises. The mat was about 2 foot high, maybe about 6' x 8'. June would be in the center of it, but always was afraid she would fall off the edge even though she was no where close to it. Also in the later stages of PD, she had a lot of difficulty feeding her self, usually not having the fork or spoon high enough to put the food in her mouth. I suppose this is depth perception or maybe something more like an awareness of where you are compared to your surroundings. Since PD affects motor control by the brain, I would think it would also affect the processing of information from the senses. All this of course is only conjecture.

Me Ke Aloha,

By lurkingforacure On 2015.10.01 00:12
Thanks for the responses, guys, I'll have to watch for those clues and see. I really appreciate the insight from both patient and caregiver:)

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