People with Parkinson’s often have difficulties in controlling automatic movements and keeping a straight posture, especially over a prolonged period of time, as for instance during meals. In addition, they may experience tremors, feel stiffness in muscles and joints, and move at a slower pace, resulting in a reduced general mobility. This disruption in the control of automatic movement interferes with daily activities, like handling knives and forks when eating or grasping a glass for drinking.
In her video, Mariella Graziano, the physiotherapist trainer from ParkinsonNet Luxembourg, shows exercises and strategies specifically developed to help people affected by Parkinson’s drink from a glass in an effective way. “People with Parkinson’s progressively lose the capability to perform complex movements,” she says in her video. “Additionally, their hands and wrists become less flexible.” This is why Mariella explains the importance of doing things step by step whilst concentrating on each part of the movement sequence. She also points out which are the key aspects of this activity and gives practical advice on how to best practice the movements.
“It is important to sit straight, to keep the feet on the ground and to consciously perform a particular movement,” Mariella explains. “By repeating and practicing each individual movement, you ultimately gain better control over what you are doing and can be more confident.”
The exercises shown in this video are part of a repertoire of strategies specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s and implemented by members of ParkinsonNet Luxembourg. “As each person has different symptoms, it is important to discuss these strategies and exercises with your physiotherapist to adapt them to your individual needs,” Mariella concludes.
Another challenge which patients can come across during meal is a difficulty to swallow effectively. Speech therapists can provide help for this specific issue through exercises that train the swallowing reflex, as illustrated in this video.