Corporate Office- South Bend, IN

17187 State Road 23 South Bend, IN 46635 Phone: (574) 273-6000 Fax: (574) 247-8199 View Map & Get Directions

Elkhart, IN

1612 W. Lexington Ave. Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: (574) 522-2273 Fax: (574) 522-4563 View Map & Get Directions

Plymouth, IN

1920 W. Lake Ave. Plymouth, IN 46563 Phone: (574) 941-4444 Fax: (574) 941-4440 View Map & Get Directions

Michigan City, IN

3219 South Franklin Street Michigan City, IN 46360 Phone: (219) 872-1000 Fax: (219) 879-1917 View Map & Get Directions

St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Medical Office Building

611 E. Douglas Road, Suite 124 Mishawaka, IN 46545 Phone: 574-247-8100 Fax: 574-855-2475 View Map & Get Directions

Health Issues

Parkinson's Disease Living Your Life

If you've received a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, you'll need to work closely with your doctor to find a treatment plan that offers you the greatest relief from symptoms with the fewest side effects. Certain lifestyle changes also may help make living with Parkinson's disease easier. 

Healthy eating
Eat a nutritionally balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are high in fiber, which is important for helping prevent the constipation that is common in Parkinson's disease.

If you take a fiber supplement, such as psyllium powder, Metamucil or Citrucel, be sure to introduce it gradually and drink plenty of fluids daily. Otherwise, your constipation may become worse. If you find that fiber helps your symptoms, use it on a regular basis for the best results.

Walking with care
Parkinson's disease can disturb your sense of balance, making it difficult to walk with a normal gait. These suggestions may help:

  • Try not to move too quickly.
  • Aim for your heel to strike the floor first when you're walking.
  • If you notice yourself shuffling, stop and check your posture. It's best to stand up straight with your head over your hips and your feet eight to 10 inches apart.

Avoiding falls
In the later stages of the disease, you may fall more easily. That's because Parkinson's disease affects the balance and coordination centers in the brain. In fact, you may be thrown off balance by just a small push or bump. The following suggestions may help:

  • Don't pivot your body over your feet while turning. Instead, make a U-turn.
  • Don't lean or reach. Keep your center of gravity over your feet.
  • Don't carry things while walking.
  • Avoid walking backward.

Dressing
Dressing can be the most frustrating of all activities for someone with Parkinson's disease. The loss of fine-motor control makes it hard to button and zip clothes, and even to step into a pair of pants. An occupational therapist can point out techniques that make daily activities easier. These suggestions also may help:

  • Allow plenty of time so that you don't feel rushed.
  • Lay clothes nearby.
  • Choose clothes that you can slip on easily, such as sweat pants, simple dresses or pants with elastic waistbands.
  • Use fabric fasteners, such as Velcro, instead of buttons