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You and Michael J. Fox have something in common finally: You have Parkinson's Disease, and you're already wobbling when you walk. You try to maintain your independence, but you never know what Parkinson's will do to you next, your doctor doesn't even know. Your family and friends suggest a wheelchair.
You've gone online to the Parkinson's Resource Organization (http://www.parkinsonsresource.org/) and checked out all the pointers on the various Web sites. You know to wear good shoes with proper support and do walking exercises. You use a cane or walker. But are your friends and family correct—do you need a wheel chair?
You may need a wheelchair if:
• You're more easily thrown off balance than you used to be.
• You can't walk unassisted for fear of falling.
• You have difficulty with motor control.
Parkinson's is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that still has no cure but plenty of promising therapies. Until there is a cure, you want to live as independently as possible. You're not ready for wheelchairs, even power wheelchairs or scooters with large grips that you can still control.
A rollator can support you, providing a barrier to slow you down and halt a fall before it happens. You can maintain your independence pushing a rollator. Also, a rollator brakes, since Parkinson's makes you want to walk faster and faster to catch up with everyone.
With the right aids to help your independence, you're still you. Maybe you don't need wheel chairs just yet. Keep on walking. As another great philosopher, Abraham Lincoln, said, "I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards." Or wheelchaired backwards for that matter.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|