Climbing Stairs with PD

Posted by suburbanjoyce @suburbanjoyce, Feb 19, 2019

My husband was diagnosed with PD last month at age 58. Thankfully, he likes to exercise. For those of you who can no longer climb stairs in your residence, approximately how long after your first hand tremors did that happen? We are trying to figure out when we will need first-floor living. I know this differs for every patient, but I am just trying to get some idea.

Hello @suburbanjoyce and welcome to Connect's discussion on Parkinson's.

You've brought up a good point about difficulty with stairs and you are right, it is very dependent on each individual. There is physical therapy (PT) that is especially planned for people with PD and can be very helpful. Whatever your husband can do to keep his legs strong and his balance good will be helpful.

However, the PD disease progression is a difficult one to assess. Are his symptoms currently on just one side of his body? Do they affect the upper and lower extremities? What about voice quality and speech difficulties? Any freezing (not being able to move forward)? All of these indicate how far the disease has progressed. However, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy can all help PD patients maintain good functioning.

I would like to invite other members of our PD community to give their opinions on your question as well, @stephenmcelroy @ramblyn @falconfly @dfelix @beverlyann @susan62 @mariemarie @ggopher @alistair01 @johnjames @brittalisse @pammettee @maxaz1 @numbskull @dianalee @lsdempsey @davidcana.

Has your husband began PD medication? Is it helping him?

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@hopeful33250 So far, my husband has occasional tremors in one hand, some jaw/chin movements (wondering how common that is), and some loss of smell. On our first visit last month, the doctor observed some loss of arm swing movement and facial expression, but I don't notice that much. Looks like he is in the early stages. He's not taking any meds for PD.

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@suburbanjoyce

Is the doctor your husband saw a neurologist? If not, I would certainly suggest seeing one.

I would also encourage you to talk with his neurologist about beginning physical therapy specifically for PD. It really does make a difference. In many communities there are PD exercises where both the patient and caregiver/spouse can attend together. You might check with your local Y or large hospital system to see what they offer. Also, Rock Steady Boxing has a program for PD patients.

I would appreciate hearing how things are going for you both. Will you keep in touch?

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Stair climbing is not an issue with me. I am 59 and was diagnosed with PD 18 months ago. I have been exercising:
– walking,
– walking with trekking poles,
– lifting weights,
– riding stationary bike (gave up riding in the street since my accident)
– balance exercises, and
– Big and Loud exercises. I
believe the whole package of activities has keep me stable for now
I am not taking any meds.
I also believe diet has helped.

For whatever its worth 🙂

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@hopeful33250

@suburbanjoyce

Is the doctor your husband saw a neurologist? If not, I would certainly suggest seeing one.

I would also encourage you to talk with his neurologist about beginning physical therapy specifically for PD. It really does make a difference. In many communities there are PD exercises where both the patient and caregiver/spouse can attend together. You might check with your local Y or large hospital system to see what they offer. Also, Rock Steady Boxing has a program for PD patients.

I would appreciate hearing how things are going for you both. Will you keep in touch?

Jump to this post

My husband did see a neurologist who also mentioned Rock Steady Boxing. The classes near us had very limited times as my husband still works. He enrolled in "I Love Kickboxing" classes and loves it.

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@lsdempsey

Stair climbing is not an issue with me. I am 59 and was diagnosed with PD 18 months ago. I have been exercising:
– walking,
– walking with trekking poles,
– lifting weights,
– riding stationary bike (gave up riding in the street since my accident)
– balance exercises, and
– Big and Loud exercises. I
believe the whole package of activities has keep me stable for now
I am not taking any meds.
I also believe diet has helped.

For whatever its worth 🙂

Jump to this post

Hi Steve, you seem to be at the same stage as my husband and hopefully the exercise you both do will greatly slow down the progression. My husband runs on days when he doesn't do the "I Love Kickboxing" classes.

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Remember to tell him, its the "forced pace" exercise that is most beneficial. Thai is going a little beyond what is normally comfortable when exercising – in general its: elevation of the heart rate, light perspiration, slight difficulty to talk while exercising, etc. Ask a PT..also there is several references in the PD literature and especially on the Davis Phinney site.

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@suburbanjoyce – how have things been going with your husband and his Parkinson's? Has he been able to keep up his exercise?

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First floor living was not an option for us. We had a chair lift put in. It works great!
My husband has been very good about when to make changes. He knew that the risk of falling was getting high, so he asked for the lift. Exercise is key in maintaining anything they do.

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My husband LOVES the I Love Kickboxing classes. He is often the only guy there and definitely the oldest. He goes most days of the week and only skips class if he goes running instead. His PD symptoms have not progressed. We are looking to move into a 55+ community with first-floor living next year. We hope it will be our last move and can get home health care when he or I become unable to take care of ourselves.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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