We all have an internal compass that tells us how we are showing up in the world. We have an intuitive sense of how we are moving and talking in our environment. In Parkinson’s this compass becomes damaged and as a result it does NOT point true north. Like a hiker in the woods heading in the wrong direction, it can be dangerous to be moving through life with a broken sense of how we are performing.
If you are tired of hearing the same comments all the time like:
- Stand up tall
- Speak up
- Take bigger steps
- Move faster
Then you may want to consider that you can’t rely on your internal compass to guide you in your performance.
What is a person with Parkinson’s to do?
What if we look outside ourselves for cues that tell us we are heading in the right direction? To a hiker this may be the sun or the north star. To people with Parkinson’s
This would include:
- What we see
- What we feel
- What we hear
You can see your image in the mirror as you leave the house. Take a moment to check in and see if you’re standing up tall. You can hear the beat of the music as you walk down the hall. Can you match your steps to the cadence of the music to keep them at the perfect pace? Maybe you count your steps or step to the tile lines on the floor as you walk to the bathroom to avoid freezing. You may choose to download a decimeter app on your smartphone that tells you how loud you are speaking.
There are many ways to use cues and what works well for each person will vary. The first step is to be aware that you may need to monitor your movement or provide yourself with little check in moments.
Consider asking others to help be your internal compass and clue you into changes in your performance of life. They may see something you don’t and once you are aware of it you can work to prevent problems. Prevention is always easier than trying to fix a problem after it has occurred.
For more on this topic please contact us at REM Center: 303-731-4620 or [email protected]