Guide to helping your PD person (PDp) stay safe and get healthier –
Tips and Tricks
PD is a Do-It-Yourself Project– Here’s some tips for being more helpful and ideas for you PDps to help yourselves.
Let them, encourage them to do things for themselves. They can only get more capable with practice. You are killing them if you over help. They must work to stop the physical decline. There is no way to exercise and practice for them.
Blue tape is a great help. Available at hardware stores.
What to do with Blue tape.
-Refrigerator. Mark the path of the door as it opens on the floor. Your PDp must stand outside marked area to open door. Do this on any door that opens towards you.
-Toilet. Blue tape line every 12-16 inches all the way to the toilet. He is to step on the blue tape marks to get there. Practice this. ( Freezing is common on the way to the toilet. In emergencies, get behind him, hug him like a teddy bear and penguin walk him into the toilet. No unzipping before getting to the toilet. )
–At the foot/top of the stairs, the front door, kitchen table or favorite chair. Put a square of blue tape on the floor. Stand in the blue tape square before trying to grab the hand rail for the stairs, before unlocking the front door, before setting the dish/bowl/cup on the table, before trying to grab the chair.
Freezing is standing with weight on both feet and trying to walk. Your PDp doesn’t realize that he has around 100 pounds pushing his foot to the ground and that’s why he can’t lift it. A gentle* push to the right to unweight the left and saying “Left Foot” can get him walking again. (*If your PDp weighs more than you, push harder.)
To the stairs. Place a strip of tape 16 inches from the stair going up and one at 16 and one at 32 going at the top of the stairs going down. Your PDp is not to touch the handrail until he is within the taped off area. At the top of the stairs it is best if the hand rail extends beyond the stair by 2 or 3 feet
Hand rails- Hand rails are safer if they are higher than normal. Chest height and about 1-2 inches in diameter. You want your PDp to be able to keep hold of the hand rail if he starts to fall, so that his head won’t hit the floor. Too big and his hand will slip off. Too low and his head can hit the floor while he is still holding onto the hand rail. A wrenched shoulder is easier to cure than a broken skull.
Don’ts -Never stand in front of a PDp while he is walking. That will make him freeze or fall.
-Do NOT hold a door open by standing in the doorway. Go through it first.
-Do NOT lead your PDp by the hand. If he clutches your hand tight, you won’t be able to help him. Hold under the armpit, elbow or not at all. If he must hold onto you, have him put his hand on your shoulder.
-His hand on your shoulder can steady him and improve his posture by forcing him stand up straighter.
-A belt of 1 inch or greater width under the arm pits, (at the bra line) will give you something to grab if your PDp starts to fall.
-Falling forward usually can be stopped with just a little pressure on the chest pushing him back to the upright position.
-Saying “LONG STEP” can unlock a freeze, reminding him “Long steps” or counting while walking will help keep him from freezing.
-Breathing heavy while walking is good. Turning red and gasping for air can mean a serious problem. Be mindful of what is normal for your PDp.
Exercise and Stretch– It is best to do the routine with your PDp unless you have to assist him. Then you feel like a team and you will get the exercise you need too. You will both feel better.
-Find an exercise class- You and your PDp need a break from your voice. Find an exercise class for him at his level just so someone else is telling him what to do for a while.
It’s hard not to nag, but try to be positive and encouraging