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 Balance issues 
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:29 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Marco Island, FL
Post Balance issues
Good morning! My husband's worst issue right now is balance. He's so unsteady that we've had several falls requiring visits to the emergency room because he's still trying to do things by/for himself even though I urge him to wait for me. I can't always control him in the walker. He's tried sinemet and it didn't help as all--in fact made him worse, same with Namenda. He's been on aricept, flomax, sanctura, and plavix for quite some time. There anything else anyone can suggest that might be tried for balance?

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JoAnn

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.".....Thoreau


Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:36 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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JoAnn,
As far as I'm aware, balance problems don't generally respond to medication. The only other medication I know people have tried for this (besides Sinemet) is amantadine. If the balance problems are due to OH (orthostatic hypotension), then this can often be helped through pharmacological and non-pharmacological routes.
Robin


Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:27 am
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:29 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Marco Island, FL
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Thanks, Robin. I'll take your answer next time we visit our neurologist and see what he says. It's worth a try if its not on the no-no list.

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JoAnn

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.".....Thoreau


Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:48 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:01 pm
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Another approach to dealing with balance problems is PT. There are a set of simple exercises that my husband does every day (with someone of course) and they help a lot. Constant reminders about where to place the feet when standing or getting up from a chair (while taking care that he doesn't fall) help maintain some independence. A man especially, I think, is humiliated if he cannot move at all on his own, if only to stand up for a few seconds. But the key is daily exercises. They won't cure the problem, but as long as the legs have some strength, they can ameliorate the fear of falling and encourage a little more independence.

Doris

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Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:53 am
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:29 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Marco Island, FL
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You're right Doris. This is good advice. We work hard to make his legs do the work--I won't let him pull on me and say he has to do it for himself (with me holding on in case he tips) Luckily he's very ammenable to assistance. We've been to PT every couple of months, but it doesn't really help much. The neurologist told me not to get a tip-up chair, because he'd lose the use of his legs, and by having him use them so far they are still pretty strong. Thanks!

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JoAnn

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.".....Thoreau


Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:22 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm
Posts: 835
Location: Acton, MA
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I took Frank to PT but he couldn't grasp what they were telling him. I would try to show him but he still didn't get it. He use to do some stretching exercises but doesn't have any interest in doing it anymore. We do go for walks 3-5 times a week, a mile or so and he's pooped when he gets home. Last year we were doing 2-3 mile without a problem. He will go out in the yard and try to help me do the yard work. He doesn't accomplish much but the bending and even picking himself off the ground is using some muscle and it makes him feel like he's contributing.
Take Care,
Gerry


Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:19 pm
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:43 pm
Posts: 54
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My mom did respond well to PT but for some reason medicare started denying it... I'll have to look into that. We noticed an immediate deterioration in her ability to support herself on her feet.

She hates PT, she always hated to exercise and kept 'firing' her physical therapist. I had to keep reminding them that she needed it and to continue. She complained that it wore her out also, but I think that's good as well. I hate to see her in a pattern of alternating meals and naps with no physical activity of any kind.


Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:30 am
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:29 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Marco Island, FL
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We were denied PT too, because the PT said he was "not showing any improvment" after a group of sessions so the insurance wouldn't pay for more. I had to work at it with them and the Dr, to prescribe it for differnt things, balance, movement, back problems, speech, etc, so he could at least get a number of sessions for each issue.

Now he's so unsteady that nothing seems to help and is almost ready for a chair rather than walker, so I gave up that fight, although I continue to try and get him to do a little walking and movement each day, which is a fight all it's own. But the therapy did help, so perhpas you can find out what the problem is and keep it up somehow if you know its helping. Plus, it gives you ideas on what to do when they don't cover.

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JoAnn

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.".....Thoreau


Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:42 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:43 pm
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I think the fight to continue some walking each day is a good one, because it enhances circulation and the movement and exercise can reduce incontinence.

It is so important to be able to support weight while standing. If your LO cannot do this it is very difficult to care for them, particularly if they are larger than YOU are.


Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:39 am
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