Loss of mobility is one of the major symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and it seems to sneak up on you with a slow start - often before Parkinson's is diagnosed.
The first sign there was something amiss, was when Ann was suffering frozen fingers at her computer keyboard and the fingers had to be straightened by using the other hand.
This led to consultations with her GP and then the subsequent diagnosis of Parkinson's by the Neurologist in November 2012.
The gradual loss of mobility started not long after, beginning with the need to use a walking stick, or cane, especially on uneven ground.
The photo below is from July 2013 when Ann had to start using a cane on uneven ground.
Subsequent mobility loss has been gradual over the years to 2021 as can be seen from the introduction of various mobility aids into our lives.
The section on House Modifications shows that we have installed grab rails of various types throughout the house mostly in 2019 and 2022.
Using a cane in July 2013
One of the other visible traits of Parkinson's Disease is a stooped posture which is normally associated with Stage 2 of Parkinson's. Stage 2 is still considered early-stage Parkinson's.
The image below was captured by our security camera in 2014.
At our front door in November 2014 - 2 years after diagnosis.
High Toilet seat July 2019
As it became harder to get up from the toilet and maintain balance at the same time, it was necessary to install a high toilet seat. These are readily available in a variety of sizes and it has certainly allowed Ann to rise up from the sitting position without worrying about balance.
Lift Chair - December 2019
The same dynamics applied to our lounge chairs as the toilet seat. Very hard to get out of, without either needing assistance or worrying about balance issues.
This lift chair has two motors meaning you get head rest and lumbar adjustment as well as reclining and foot rest actions.
Like most lift chairs, It stands you almost upright.
The Mobility Scooter - July 2019
The Portable Mobility Scooter and Hoist - January 2020
The first scooter we purchased was in 2019 for use around the Village.
While a large scooter it has been very useful especially with the boot for carrying things.
Ann uses it to travel to the Village Pool and for visiting friends within the Village.
While it is a full Mobility Scooter and is able to be used for travel into Casino, we have chosen to restrict its use to within the Village only.
These are a matched pair and while sold individually they are often available as a package at a fairly decent price discount.
The scooter is 26 Kg and while I can lift it into the car, it is a whole lot easier to hoist it into the car. And besides, it looks kinda spoofy when using the electric hoist in the Supermarket car park.
The scooter itself is an automatic fold and unfold driven by a remote control and that too looks kinda neat.
Ann has been able to use it in Supermarkets, crowded specialty stores and clubs. It is solely an indoor use scooter and not meant for general use like the much bigger three-wheel scooter we have.
The big and the small - February 2020
While the portable scooter is primairly an indoor unit, it can be pressed into service for short even ground outdoor use, as was the case here when Ann and friend were off to the Village pool.
Toilet safety rail July 2020 x 2
As Ann's mobility issues deteriorated, we installed these safety rails around both the toilets. They allow Ann to stand using the hand rails.
And there is also a magazine holder to assist in whiling away the time.
Despite being portable, they are very well made and quite stable when in use.
U-Step Walker - August 2020
The video below is self-explanatory. We purchased this from a reseller in Sydney in August 2020.
It is certainly the Rolls Royce of walkers but is worth it.
This walker can be turned within its own length.
Ann can turn it around without hitting the walls within this hallway leading down to the bedrooms.
Dual Riser Walking Frames x 2 - September 2020
These are not meant for walking around the house, but rather to provide a stable balancing point in the more open areas of the house where a wall or grab rail is not close. They weigh 2.6 kg so are really very light and super easy to pick up and move.
And they fold flat as well, which is convenient for moving them around the house if needed.
So far Ann has found them very useful indeed - as balance points - and now also to get up out of both her computer desk chair and dining chair.
Our fairly heavy focus on fall prevention is essentially about removing the fear of falling that is associated with the reduced mobility of Parkinson's.
Stander Security Poles - January 2021
These are floor-to-ceiling adjustable security poles to provide a balance and or grab point in open spaces. There are three of them, one in the ensuite bathroom, one in the lounge entrance off the entryway and one in the open area between the kitchen and the dining area.
These poles fit from a 8ft to 10 ft ceiling.
We now have 12 of these poles in the house - 5 with handles and 7 without.
Foer example, there is one with handle inside the shower, one next to Anns' lift up chair, and one at the dining table.
Coway Bidet - February, 2021
Constipation is a major issue for people with PD and the management of this medication induced condition is neither simple nor easy. Nor are the results always what are desired.
Knowing that this would be an ongoing problem, we decided a bidet would be an essentail item to have.
We purchased this particular Bidet as it has heated seat, warm water wash and twin adjustable nozzles.
Handybar Portable Support Handle- May, 2021
It allows the user to easily sit or stand safely while entering or exiting their vehicle, offering support and protection from falls. Added features like a seat belt cutter and window breaker make this the all-in-one solution for automotive safety and.
The Wonder Sheet 'Original' - May 2021
The 'Wonder Sheet' is an effective therapeutic tool because it can make your mobility in bed easier.
The satin panel, which is 90cm long, sits under your shoulders, back and hips and allows you to slide your hips over more easily without having to lift them. It's also particularly helpful when getting in and out of bed because you can pivot on your hips without worrying about the friction from normal cotton sheets.
This unique design creatively combines 'Glossy Charmeuse' satin and a 50/50 blend cotton/polyester fabric which is beautiful to sleep on while being very durable.
Trionic Veloped Tour - November 2021
We started a walking programme around the streets of our Village and it soon became apparent that the U-Step II walker was not a suitable walker for outdoor use.
Research indicated that an outdoor walker with large wheels would be the most suited for what we wanted to do.
So we bought a Trionic Veloped Tour from Sweden and it has not disappointed.
There are many situations where we need to park and walk and where the portable scooter is not a viable option and the terrain is too rough for the U-Step.
Carrying the Veloped in the car is easy enough, but it then leaves us with a rather large walker not suited for indoor use at our destination.
So, the solution was a smaller walker, still portable and one with large pneumatic wheels to cope with parking lots etc.
The choice was another Trionic product, the Trionic Rollator Walker 14. This walker folds for easy carrying and weighs under 7Kg.
This means we now have three walkers, each fulfilling a specified role, and while it may seem over-kill, we are about making life as easy as we can while we live with PD.