As Parkinson’s disease (PD) progresses, “freezing” can become a safety challenge. Recognize when this Parkinson’s symptom may happen and what to do after to minimize injury.

What is freezing?

Freezing is the temporary, involuntary inability to move.

It can occur at any time. For example, your feet may seem to stick to the floor or you may be unable to get up from a chair.

Some people are more likely to have freezing episodes than others.

Freezing can occur when the person with PD is due for next dose of dopaminergic medications. This is called “off” freezing. Usually, freezing episodes lessen after taking the medicine.

Cluttered “pathway” ie; narrow hall, random objects that must be navigated through.

An unexpected person or machine suddenly appears which normally would be a nonfactor to most, but to a person with PD, it’s a solid wall.

The exact cause of freezing is unknown.

Freezing and Falls

About 38 percent of people living with PD fall each year. PD-related falls occur mostly when turning or changing directions and are often related to a freezing episode.

Not everyone living with PD will experience freezing episodes, but those who do are at a much higher risk of falling.

Freezing creates a danger of falling because the beginning and end of a freezing episode are unpredictable.

The unpredictability of freezing, along with effects by well-meaning companions to force the person with PD to move, may cause loss of balance and falls.

Tricks to help you get over a freezing episode

March. Shift body weight from one leg to another.

Listen to rhythmic, music and step with the beat.

Step over an imaginary line in front of you.

Use a mobile laser device that creates a line for you to step over.

If possible, quiet the room.

This article was furnished by Boyson Heights Tenant, Peter Lancaster!