Prevent Falls

September 22nd – 28th was Fall Prevention Awareness Week and the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego wants your family to feel empowered to prevent falls.  By following these simple steps you can make your home safer and radically decrease your chances of falling.

  • Remove throw rugs and secure carpet edges
  • Gather cords and tape to wall
  • Don’t wax the floors
  • Remove clutter from steps & pathways
  • Keep frequently used items within reach
  • –         Example: Phone on the bedside table
  • Use non-slip mat in tub; non-slip rug near tub
  • Use grab bars in shower and bathroom
  • Good lighting around stairs, outdoors, etc.
  • –         Regularly check your vision for changes in acuity, or the onset of cataracts and glaucoma
  • Install handrails and fix uneven steps

Try to keep an eye out for additional ways to improve and reorganize your current home. Sometimes the most effective improvements are easy and don’t cost a lot of money.  There are also organizations that will assess your home for safety and do minor home modifications.  These programs can assist with issues like grab bar installation or building a wheelchair ramp:

Jewish Family Service Fix-it Service 8804 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 637-3354
Rebuilding Together San Diego 2013 Franklin Ave San Diego, CA 92113 (619) 231-7873

Get MOVING: Enjoy San Diego’s year-long summer with a splash in the pool! Warm water excersie can help you develop range of motion and build muscle –essential for decreasing falls. Consult your physician before starting an aquatic exercise routine, grab a swim buddy and contact us to request a free phamplet on warm water exercise and PD.

Caregiver tip: Worried about your loved one falling when no one is around to help? A medical alert system can notify responders of a fall and give you peace of mind.  

Learn more:

HHSA Fall Prevention Resource Guide

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence

Don’t Fall for It AIS short video presentation

Physical Health and Fall Risk (Interactive Caring)

Got Balance?

Although Parkinson’s can limit your range of motion, there are many ways to ease the stress and burden of limited mobility. There are even strategies to help improve balance, develop and maintain strength and prevent falls. Physical therapy can help regardless of your progression with PD and greatly improves your quality of life.  You don’t have to wait until an injury occurs, physical therapy can maximize your independence now.

*A physical therapist can help you:

  • Design an individualized program to address your specific physical limitations.
  • Learn stretches and exercises that can be done at home to improve range of motion, balance, posture, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Evaluate and treat mobility and walking problems as well as joint or muscle pain which interferes with the activities of daily living.
  • Plan more efficient movements and compensatory techniques for daily living activities (e.g. bathing and dressing) to make these easier and less tiring to do.
  • Learn to use appropriate walking aids.

Since PD is a chronic progressive illness, it’s important to regularly visit your physical therapist. Reoccurring visits at regular intervals, allows your therapist to adequately asses your movement symptoms and help you maintain independence as your PD progresses.

Care partner Tip: Physical therapy can also benefit you! Bending, lifting and helping a loved one with daily activities can take a toll on your body. It’s important for you to know and use healthy body mechanics to help prevent injury. The end goal is to help maximize the independence of your loved one with PD while caring for yourself.

Learn More:
Physical therapy helps someone with PD exercise

Physical therapy – exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease — how physical therapy can help

Want to see a physical therapist but not sure where to start?
Call us at 858-273-6763 and we can get you pointed in the right direction!

*PD Plan for Life: “What you should know before choosing a physical therapist”

Parkinson’s Wellness Fund to Support San Diegans with Parkinson’s

The Parkinson’s Wellness Fund is a program in its infancy stages whose mission is to alleviate the financial burden that accompanies living with Parkinson’s in order to improve the quality of life. The Fund, managed through a partnership between the MEYROW Foundation and the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego, will help to provide support for a variety of services and therapies for those living with Parkinson’s in San Diego County.

Applications are now available for those who may be interested in applying for a grant through the fund. To request an application, please contact the Parkinson’s Association at (858) 273-6763 or

Parkinson’s Step By Step Strides Toward Record Number of Teams!

This year’s Step by Step 5K Walk/Fun Run is less than 2 months away – April 21st at NTC Park at Liberty Station in Point Loma. And, it’s shaping up to be a record breaking event!

With 85 teams registered so far, our numbers have doubled in 2012 over the same date last year. Meanwhile, fundraising goals have also exceded 2011 totals for the same date and are expected to set a record as well.

The Parkinson’s Association of San Diego (PASD) is stepping it up in 2012 and turning the Walk/Run into a truly unique experience by adding several vendors and resource outlets to the festival.

“This year’s Step by Step will offer something for everyone,” said Ron Hendrixd, PhD, Executive Director of PASD. “We’ll have live entertainment, fodd and resources for Parkinson’s patients and their families, including a Medical Expo and a Pet Festival.” Proceeds from the event will support programs and services for those living with Parkinson’s disease and promising research.

The Step by Step event is much more than just a Walk/Fun Run! The expanded Medical Expo, California’s largest Parkinson’s Medical Expo, will introduce the public to the latest in Parkinson’s medicine and research. Anonter key component is the Paws for Parkinsons (TM) Pet Festival where attendees can learn about the benefits of pet ownership, including service dogs, for people with Parkinson’s. In addition, attendees can discover ways to live better with Parkinson’s at the Health and Fitness Pavillion. More than 2,000 participants joined the fun last year and with an expanded festival, numbers are expected to surpass last year.

“We’re excited by the positive response so far and expect the momentum to continue right up until the day of the event” said Hendrix.

For more information on registering or becoming a sponsor for the 2012 Step by Step event, visit or call (858) 273-6763.

Parkinson’s Support Group for San Diego Veterans

As part of our further development of clinical services, the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS), in partnership with the Parkinsons’s Association of San Diego, will be starting a support group for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease.

The group will be lead by J. Vincent Filoteo, PhD, and Kathy Randall, LCSW, and will meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 4-5PM at the VA Hospital in La Jolla. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 4:00PM. To participate, individuals will have to be registered, or eligible to register, as a VA patient. Participants must be formally registered as a group member to come to meetings.

There is limited space available for this group; if you are interested please contact Shannon Earl at (858) 552-8585 ext. 5593 to find out more about the group and if you are eligible to participate. We look forward to starting this group and continuing our development of clinical services at the VA for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease.

The Countdown is On – Step by Step

It’s hard to believe the Parkinson’s Step by Step 5K Walk & Fun Run is already coming up in 74 days! Join us on April 21st at Liberty Station for the Walk, Run, Paws for Parkinson’s Pet Festival, Medical Expo and Health & Fitness Pavillion. this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than anything we’ve had in the past.

We are very lucky to have Richard Dreyfuss lend his voice to our public service announcement for our upcoming 5K Walk. Just another way we’re bringing the best to the Parkinson’s community!

Unleash Your Creativity!

Sometimes a Parkinson’s diagnosis can lead to something amazing. While the initial diagnosis can be shocking and devastating, many find the changes in their brain help them to discover a creative side they never knew they had.

Some find their inspiration in painting. They may no longer be able to write legibly, but they can hold a paint brush steady and paint beautifully. Some pick up a camera and focus on photography. Sculpting clay gives some people an outlet to create.

Writing can also be a powerful outlet. Authors have written their first novel, poem or blog after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Artistic endeavors provide an outlet for people with Parkinson’s to create what they may no longer be able to describe in words. It can release new energy and provide new purpose to a life changed. It brings since of pride.

Parkinson’s can be an opportunity to learn something new and try something you’ve never done before. Take a class, or write down the short story you’ve had in your head for the last few months. While living day to day with Parkinson’s is certainly a challenge, allow a new experience to be it’s gift.

Honor a Loved One

Are you looking for a way to honor or remember a loved one? Is there someone you know who has made a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s? Why not recognize them at our Spirit of Life Gala.

One opportunity is to place a Tribute in the program.  

Personal Tributesin the printed program can include messages such as (space permitting):*   

·    A tribute in recognition of a loved one.

·    A congratulatory message of your choice to Spirit of Life award recipients Michael Thorsnes, Rick Brydges or Ed Danenhauer  

·    A message of support to the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego.

Business Tributes  in the printed program will include your  company name and logo, a brief description of your company, as well as a congratulatory message of your choice (space permitting).*

The cost of placing a tribute is

·    Full page in color $1,000

·    Half page in color $500

·    Quarter page in color $250

·    Business card in color $100

Another beautiful way to honor, remember or recognize a special person is on the Ray of Light Tribute Tree. With your donation of $50 or more, a candle with an engraved votive will be placed in the Ray of Light tree. You and your honoree will also be acknowledged in the event program. Votives will be available to take home after the event. 

·     White candles symbolize any loved one or special person, business or organization.

·     Blue candles symbolize a loved one connected to Parkinson’s disease.  

The Spirit of Life will be October 9th, 2011 at Paradise Point on beautiful Mission Bay. If you would like to place a tribute or a Ray of Light, or to purchase tickets, please visit Deadline for tributes is September 30th.


Living Single with Parkinson’s

There are many people living alone with Parkinson’s disease in San Diego and doing quite well. Having a positive attitude will help you to deal with the daily challenges of PD, as will having a good sense of humor. Living independently, safely, for as long as possible is of paramount importance to you as a single person, as well as to your friends and family members who may be concerned about you.

One of the challenges for any person living single is to not isolate themselves. Staying active, including socializing and maintaining friendships, will help to alleviate some of the isolation you may feel, and may help to ward off or lessen depression (experienced by up to 50% of people with Parkinson’s). Look into social activities that are of interest to you, such as a ballroom dancing class, yoga or tai chi, or a photography  or sculpture class; activities that keep you active and moving will serve multiple purposes and bring you joy.

Exercise is very important for people with Parkinson’s; not only are there physical benefits to being active, but exercise can also help to improve your mood. Keep your brain active as well by reading, challenging yourself with games like Sudoku, doing puzzles or any other mentally challenging activity you may enjoy. Another way to help lessen the feeling of isolation is to join one of the 18 Support Groups throughout San Diego County that are supported by the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego. Many people find a pet provides great companionship and comfort at times when they are alone, as well as a conversation topic with friends and acquaintances (just be careful not to trip over them).

A big concern for people living alone is the fear of falling. Simple alterations to the home may help to lessen these fears, and it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Some simple adjustments include the addition of night lights to brighten dark floors and hallways in case you need to get up in the middle of the night, securing throw rugs with double-sided tape, or removing them altogether, to prevent tripping, and installing grab bars in the shower to assist with balance on a slippery surface. Look into a personal alarm system that can be activated in the event of a fall or other emergency situation. Consider joining a Project CARE program, a community effort that enables older adults or adults with a disability to remain in their homes and feel safe by ensuring someone checks in with you on a regular basis to make sure you are okay; Project CARE programs can be found throughout San Diego County; more information can be obtained through San Diego County Aging and Independence Services by calling (800) 510-2020.


Create your own plan for living well with Parkinson’s. Set weekly exercise goals and celebrate when you meet them. Eat regular meals; when you are feeling well, make double recipes of your favorites and freeze food for future consumption.  Vow to take your medications as prescribed, on time; look into alarms on watches or pill boxes that can help. Be prepared for and keep all medical appointments; make a list ahead of time of any questions you would like answered and any concerns you have with your current medication regime.

Parkinson’s disease is a challenge for anyone to deal with, but it does not necessarily mean you have to give up your independence. Follow your doctor’s advice and make adjustments where necessary. Ask for help when you need it. Keep yourself busy with activities you enjoy. Maintain relationships with your friends and family members. Laugh often. Live well.

Celebrating the 4th!

The Fourth of July is upon us and Summer has officially arrived in San Diego. It is expected to be a warm and sunny weekend, so make sure you are prepared!

People with Parkinson’s are particularly prone to skin cancers. If you will be outside at all this weekend, especially between the hours of 10 and 4, make sure you are wearing sunscreen with at least an SPF15 and that protects against UVA and UVB rays!  Not sure if you have enough on? The average person should use about one shot glass of sunscreen to fully cover themselves. If you’re going to be in and out of the water, or just outside for a while, remember to reapply sunscreen often!

If you will be hanging out at the pool, use the opportunity to get some exercise. Walking or jogging in the water provides a great cardiovascular and strength workout and there is no possibility of falls. Have running races with friends and family members with a frozen fruit bar as the prize for the race winner.

Partaking in a barbeque? Balance your plate with sidedishes of fruit or vegetables instead of all potato salad and chips. And don’t forget to take you Parkinson’s medications as scheduled!

Finally, while enjoying the sun and time with family and friends, drink plenty of water. Keeping well hydrated and keep you feeling at your best, keeping you more alert. Aim for at least 6 glasses of water per day – more if you are spending lots of time in the sun or exercising. Water is the cheapest and easiest thing to do to stay healthy.

Have a very Happy 4th of July!