At last, the long, cold spring is slowly turning itself into warmer summer-like weather. If the lazy, hazy days of summer are beckoning with plans for either staying around the home or travelling, click here for some very important tips on how to have fun, while staying prepared for unexpected situations that arise!
Shoulders, backs, elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, fingers, neck, hips…any part of the body that’s jointed can make us suffer from aches and pains that we could do without! Aside from natural aging, accidents, or neurological and orthopedic conditions, what do you think many of us do on a daily basis that actually causes those aching joints?
Click here to visit a web link to check out bad habits that YOU may relate to!
Parkinson’s Fitness Balance in Motion instructor Dianna Daly (http://parkinsonsfitness.org/about-fitness/class-instructors/) was recently invited by Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OT, FQOTA and professor of the OT Department at Tufts University to participate as one of their guest faculty-staff participants at a university-sponsored Dance for Healthy Aging with Parkinson’s Disease workshop. The goal of the workshop was teaching Tufts OT students how to interact directly and collaboratively with people with Parkinson’s. To help accomplish the goal, Dianna invited two of her local Parkinson’s Fitness class members to accompany her to the event.
Showcasing the incredibly successful work in the field of dance to augment medical technologies used in combatting the progressively debilitating nature of Parkinson’s were David Leventhal, Program Director and founding teacher of the nationally acclaimed Dance for PD program, a nonprofit collaboration of MMDG and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group that leads dance classes around the world (https://danceforparkinsons.org/), and Pamela Quinn, professional dancer and Parkinson’s consultant for people with Parkinson’s, who has lived with her Parkinson’s diagnosis for over 20 years (https://pdmovementlab.com/about). Pam’s personal experience of dance and Parkinson’s gives her a unique perspective from which to analyze physical function, and to imagine creative solutions to the problems posed by Parkinson’s.
According to Quinn, “Dance by its very nature contributes to everyday health: working and stretching muscles leads to strength and flexibility; learning and remembering movement tones the brain; touch and partnering provide social contact, and creative context promotes expression and use of the imagination. People of any age, especially the elderly, need movement, fun, challenge, and connection. This workshop allowed participants to experience all those things first hand and helped them understand how to create such an environment for others as well.”
Quoting Dianna after the workshop experience: “It was great to be there alongside Devera and Elaine to represent our Parkinson’s Fitness community.”
Elaine Boone, one of Dianna’s class members, offers her experience of attending the event:
“I really enjoy going to anything that will give me support and, even more, ways to keep me moving. The dance session was very uplifting. Pam and David made the exercises fun and us all so much good advice. Everyone with Parkinson’s should watch Pam’s videos. As someone with Parkinson’s herself, she has discovered so many different moves that can keep us all going. And I enjoyed working with the students. The more they can see people with Parkinson’s and what symptoms we have and what we can do to slow the progression down, the better for them.
Without programs and the wonderful people who give of their time, we would be lost. We couldn’t do it without you all, and thank you for inviting me to the sessions. Please keep up your wonderful work!”
Devera Ehrenberg, another member in Dianna’s classes, shares her positive experience:
“The Dance for Health Aging day was full of wonderful exercises we created – starting with the introduction. Bach (or Mozart) filled the room and we moved to the music, creating our own dance, and what followed were flowing movements to other ideas we created. We broke into small groups. The one I was in created paintings – Jackson Pollock throwing paint on a canvas on the floor, or Seurat, lots of dots, etc., as other groups created movements for their ideas. Such wonderful, freeing movements! My Parkinson’s faded away and that lasted , for me, into the next day. I spent the next morning inventing dance movements! I loved it! Thanks for this opportunity.”
WHOA! We all attended the start of our 8-week MedRhythms/Parkinson’s Fitness music therapy series for a number of reasons. We want to learn techniques for strengthening our voices so that we can continue to communicate effectively with others; we want to tap into the regions of our brains where music rhythms help trigger the signals that help us with mobility; we want to have fun singing while we learn together! The program is available for people with not only Parkinson’s, but also Multiple Sclerosis, stroke recovery, and traumatic brain injury therapy.
MedRhythms music therapist, Stian Hansen, and his assistant, Michi, introduced a group of 37 men and women to the opportunities that await us through their use of vocal sound variations, facial exercises, pitch “sliders”, musical instruments, rhythm tapping and, of course, singing!
Stian encouraged us to share our expectations for joining this new series, and he stayed after the session to speak personally with whoever had questions. We are certain that he will continue creating an ongoing program over the remaining weeks that will prove to be a wonderful tool for everyone who attends. And if the predicted snow for the upcoming week doesn’t force us to postpone our second session, the space provided for us at the Beverly Council on Aging will once again be alive with music from 2:00 to 3:30 PM!
Freezing in place while walking, often to the point of losing balance and falling, is a fairly regular occurrence for many people living with Parkinson’s.
Read this really interesting Dutch research about experimental but promising “laser-light shoes”. Many of us are aware of assistive devices that incorporate laser lights (walkers, for instance) to break freezes. Keep “stepping” up in learning about not only what causes freezing, but what’s being created to lessen the challenge it presents.
Who IS this??
He is Janus, the mythological god of endings and beginnings, of gateways and doorways…a fitting symbol for the first month of a new year, as we say good-bye to 2017 and usher in 2018.
The familiar “Dear Abby” titled her advice in this New Year’s Day local newspaper, “Make the Most of a New Year by Taking One Day at a Time”. Following are brief excerpts from what she wrote, stating that the original and often requested New Year’s Resolutions were adapted from the original Al-Anon credo...wise and inspirational thoughts for all of us. Let us accept this New Year as would Janus…looking back at many lessons learned and forward toward another chance for a new beginning.
“Just for today: I will live through THIS DAY ONLY. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will set goals but not try to overcome all of my problems at once.”
“Just for today: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me.”
“Just for today: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.”
“Just for today: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance and refrain from improving anybody but myself.”
“Just for today: I will do something positive to improve my health. I will gather the courage to do what is difficult but right, and I will take responsibility for my own actions.”
Winter was “officially” ushered in with an East Coast snowfall this weekend (Dec. 9th for those of us in New England)…pretty to look at considering the upcoming holidays, but for many not experienced with snow and cold, tough to live through and with!
Television commercials are offering seasonal advice for winter skin care. Parkinson’s knows no particular season for its affects on skin. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers insights into all-year skin care and the reasons why some people experience unaccustomed changes.
Click here for lots of information that helps answer questions and offers helpful tips…and continue to drink LOTS of water!
Parkinson’s can create aches and stiffness in different parts of the body. As if that’s not enough challenge to contend with when trying to button a shirt or jacket, using utensils or tools, or opening containers, arthritis is often an unwanted companion, especially in the hands and wrists.
Read more from UC Berkeley School of Public Health about hand exercises that can offer some relief. Physical therapy with a therapist specially trained in working with hands is another option to consider.
And keep those hands warm during cold weather with gloves, mittens, and hand warmers!
For extremely important cold and flu season tips from the National Medical Director for the Parkinson’s Foundation for people with Parkinson’s, Click here
Since his appointment in 2006, Dr. Michael Okun has worked with the Centers of Excellence to help foster the best possible environments for care, research and outreach in Parkinson’s disease. He is a leading national spokesperson for Parkinson’s disease, and has been extensively quoted in The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today, CNN and other media.
With winter just around the corner, it’s time we all started to look after ourselves a little more. Avoiding germs is one thing, but we can also try and boost our immune systems by getting plenty of sleep and eating the right foods.
Here are nine foods well-known for their immunity-boosting qualities:
1. Yogurt: Providing you can eat dairy without any side effects, the natural probiotics found in yogurt are great for keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy and in order. Opt for ones without added sugar or sweeteners if possible.
2. Oats and barley: Adding oats to your diet in the winter is easy, you can start your day with a hot bowl of oatmeal and you can switch barley for rice with your evening meal. Both of these grains are gentle on the stomach and are high in antioxidants — important for fighting off those winter bugs.
3. Beef: Beef is full of zinc, which many of us are low in over the winter months. Zinc helps to form healthy white blood cells which are important in the fight against winter illnesses. To get the most out of beef aim for organic, grass-fed beef.
4. Garlic: For optimum garlic power, you should eat two cloves of raw garlic a day. However, if this sounds unpalatable then you can either take garlic capsules or use lots of garlic in your cooking. The allicin in garlic is great for helping to fight off colds and the flu.
5. Sweet potatoes: Full of beta-carotene which is great for your skin, sweet potatoes make a healthier alternative to regular potatoes and are much lower on the GI scale.
6. Oily fish and shellfish: Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great sources of omega-3 which can help protect lungs from infections. The selenium found in shellfish such as prawns, oysters and mussels increases the amount of cytokines in the white blood cells which helps to fight off winter ailments.
7. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are also good for keeping our white blood cells healthy, and they are a great source of vitamin D — which is in short supply in the winter months. Add some to your favorite dishes for the immune boost.
8. Chicken soup: The go-to meal when you’re feeling under the weather, research shows that we should be eating chicken soup as a preventative dish as well as a restorative one. The salty brine helps to thin mucus, and the onions and vegetables added to the soup also provide bug-fighting nutrients.
9. Tea: Black and green tea both contain lots of cold-busting antioxidants, even the decaffeinated varieties. Add lemon and honey instead of milk and sugar for a blast of vitamin C and antibacterial goodness.