Marie B., a resident of The Gables of Germantown, has been living with Parkinson's Disease (PD) for 31 years. This year, she is challenging others to #StartAConversation as part of Parkinson's Awareness Month. According to the Parkinson's Foundation, PD is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in the brain and has symptoms which can include tremors, slowness of movements, limb rigidity, and gait and balance problems.
Marie described another symptom known as "freezing," which is a temporary, involuntary inability to move. "It often occurs when you are moving from one surface to another, such as tile to carpet. Or I get to an obstacle and I can't move." Freezing can be dangerous and increases one's propensity of falling. However, music is a powerful intervention that can be used to improve gait and help minimize freezing episodes. "Cindy [our Lifestyle Enrichment Specialist at The Gables] is putting songs on an MP3 player for me to try."
Marie urges others to be patient when interacting with someone who has PD. "People tend to rush you. I can tell my brain what to do, but it takes a while." If you would like to learn more about PD or continue the conversation, visit the Parkinson's Foundation website.
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