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Hiking partner with Parkinson's

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Hiking partner with Parkinson's

Postby Alpine » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:57 pm

Anybody have any helpful hints on this subject, or things to be aware of, or prepared for, or to watch for? My friend was diagnosed less than 2 years ago, so he has had it long enough to understands his limits. We plan to try a class 1 or 2 peak soon, maybe something in the Sawatch.

What I am looking for is advice for me as his hiking partner - how can I best be prepared to help him, especially in regards to any symptoms that may arise. I want to be prepared in the same way I am prepared to assist with common fist aid techniques. Maybe it is just a matter of encouraging him and letting him go as far as he wants to?
"You know I've always loved you...and you know I always will." Third Day

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Re: Hiking partner with Parkinson's

Postby Wildernessjane » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:18 pm

I'm also interested in hearing what people have to say about this. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago, and he was told that strenuous exercise is good and may actually delay the progression. Medication has done wonders for him. However, he gets much more tired now than he used to. Symptoms also seem to come back pretty quickly if he misses a dose of his medication (tremors, poor coordination, lethargy, etc.). By the way, he climbed Bierdstadt with me shortly after he turned 70 (before we knew about the diagnosis).

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Re: Hiking partner with Parkinson's

Postby tlongpine » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:05 am

Ask a medical professional.
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

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Re: Hiking partner with Parkinson's

Postby jtdudley » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:08 am

I would agree that talking with a medical professional would be preferred. However, here are some things to consider when preparing to hike with an individual with Parkinson's.

Physical activity is very good for individuals with this diagnosis. However, has the disease progresses there are some safety concerns that need to be considered like balance, ability to recover if balance is lost, freezing episodes etc.

Things he would need to look out for are rigidity, freezing, festinating gait, and posterior (backward) loss of balance.
Rigidity: I would make sure he gets a good stretch in for the trunk and hips prior to starting (PM me for suggestions if needed)....and actually make it part of his daily routine. Stride length can REALLY be shortened!
freezing: find external cues that work for him whether it be sound, tactile stimulation, or visual stimulation. Later in the disease, patients find it difficult to initiate movements via internal cues (different pathways in brain) however can initiate it with a laser beam they need to step over or sounds or tactile cues
Posterior LOB is also very common due to poor reactivity, I would stay behind him the entire way and work on balance leading up to it.

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Re: Hiking partner with Parkinson's

Postby Alpine » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:02 am

Thanks for the insight jt.

Just what I was looking for.
"You know I've always loved you...and you know I always will." Third Day

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