Balance, posture and gait issues not only make getting around more difficult with Parkinson’s — they can also raise your risk of falling. Vision changes such as blurry or double vision can throw you off balance. And orthostatic hypotension — a drop in blood pressure when changing positions — can lead to dizziness and falls, too.
Your doctor can help determine your own fall risk and suggest medication adjustments or assistance products that may help. Exercises that focus on balance, such as yoga and tai chi, may also make a difference. And small adjustments in your home can also help prevent falls.
- Create a space you’re familiar with by avoiding new routines and changes at home. Familiarize yourself with furniture and places you can grab on to so everywhere is easily accessible. Caregivers and family members should avoid moving furniture or adding new pieces without letting their loved one know.
- Remove rugs, arrange power cords and add night lights to make it easier to get around the house, particularly at night.
- Avoid multi-tasking while walking. Some people with Parkinson’s find that multi-tasking becomes more difficult with the disease. When walking, avoid talking on the phone or looking for something in your bag.
- Make the bathtub safer by adding mats with a grip or a grab bar. Railings in hallways can also help you move around the house, if it’s in your budget.
- Take your time standing up. If you experience dizziness when standing up or sitting down, talk to your doctor about orthostatic hypotension.
Bonus tip: Talk with your doctor about your fall risk. Your doctor may suggest a walker or cane, or an adjustment in medication, to help reduce your risk.