MATTER OF BALANCE CLASS GIVES PARKINSON'S PATIENTS THE RIGHT TOOLS

Parkinson’s is not a basic disease. It doesn’t move in a straight line, and it’s hard to pin down exactly how it’ll progress. The symptoms of Parkinson's disease may cause sufferers to move more slowly, feel tightness, pain, and weakness, especially in the muscles and joints. Physical and occupational therapy may help with these symptoms.
 
A Matter of Balance (MOB) is an 8-week structured group intervention that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Senior participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn exercises that increase strength and balance. For Parkinson’s sufferers like Maureen and Carlos, our Matter of Balance classes offered through MOW Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program have provided some valuable techniques and strategies to navigate the future.
 
Carlos has a goal of walking more and regaining a normal, wider gait. He feels that the MOB exercises will help him to increase his steadiness. “It’s convenient that these exercises can be done at home. My wife, Alvetta makes sure that I do them every day and we’ve both noticed that I’m walking better.”
 
The classes are taught by registered nurse, Donna Cassidy and physical therapist, Jodi Kabat. “This group was already pretty active and most participated in some kind of physical therapy to help their mobility, but all of them have continually practiced the MOB exercises and have been very enthusiastic about learning how to make their physical environments safer,” explained Jodi.
 
Donna agrees with Jodi about the benefits of the class. “Lack of coordination and balance are problems that can increase suddenly. These exercises help Parkinson’s sufferers regain some control over the symptoms.”
 
To learn more about Fall Prevention’s Matter of Balance classes—soon available in Spanish—contact Michele Alba at malba@mowdr.org.