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Walking changes are common in Parkinson's disease and can become more difficult to manage as PD progresses. People with Parkinson's often need reminders or "cues" to take long steps as automatic motions become more difficult to perform and steps become increasingly smaller.

  • Avoid distractions when walking. Attempts to do more than one thing at the same time make walking and balance more difficult.

  • Focus on the size of the steps. Larger steps make walking more stable.

  • Keep your instructions and cues short and simple, e.g., "Big steps."

  • To help with increasing pace (called festination), provide a cue to stop, then start over with big steps.

  • Freezing (feet glued to floor is a significant cause of falls)

    • Freezing often happens while turning around in close quarters​

    • Try to avoid tight turns whenever possible. Instruct your loved one to make wider turns.

    • To help with freezing, count or clap a rhythmic beat

    • Some people who experience freezing episodes do better with a visual cue, such as "step over my foot."

  • If the person with Parkinson's has a tendency to lose his balance backward, position yourself slightly behind the person as he stands and walks to help minimize this problem.

  • Watch out for pets in the home


Parkinson's Foundation. Page 136. Movement Challenges. Chapter 6. Advanced Parkinson's. Caring and Coping.  A Care Partner's Guide to Parkinson's Disease. "Booklet."

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