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Managing ‘Freezing Spells’ with Parkinson’s

Some seniors with Parkinson’s experience what’s sometimes termed “freezing spells,” characterized by a sudden inability to move. Freezing spells tend to be fairly haphazard, not usually occurring with any regularity and lasting for varying periods of time, although spells are often brief.

As with most other Parkinson’s symptoms, there are steps that can be taken to manage freezing spells. Home Care Assistance, a trusted Annapolis Parkinson’s care provider, offers some information about what causes freezing spells and how you can help your aging parent or loved one better manage them, promoting their comfort, independence and quality of life.

Medication Adjustments and Fast-Acting Shots

In some Parkinson’s patients, freezing occurs at the time when medications are wearing off, before the next scheduled dose. Increasing dosages has been shown to be beneficial for some patients. Fast-acting dopaminergic medications like Apomorphine (Apokyn) can also be injected into the skin in the area where freezing occurs.

Resisting the Temptation to Force Movement

Some well-meaning family caregivers try to gently help a loved one move while in the middle of a freezing spell, which can actually cause them to lose their balance or fall. When it becomes evident that a freezing spell is in progress, simply staying with the person and offering support until the spell passes can be helpful.

Helpful ‘Tricks’ to Prevent Freezing While Walking

Since there is no clear rhyme or reason for freezing spells, there’s not always a lot of logic behind certain “tricks” that seem to help some PD patients minimize or prevent freezing spells while walking. Some of these tricks include:

  • Shifting body weight while walking (from one leg to the other)
  • Marching rather than casually walking
  • Stepping in time to rhythmic music while walking
  • Using a laser pointer to display a line to step over

Specially trained dogs or assistive walking devices may help patients with severe or frequently occurring freezing spells. It’s not known what causes parts of the body to suddenly become immobile during these spells. However, attentive caregivers can be of assistance by learning to recognize signs of a spell that’s in progress. If you are unable to care for your loved one on an around-the-clock basis, an hourly Annapolis caregiver may be a great option, providing care in your absence and ensuring continuity and quality care 24/7.

To request information about care for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s or schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 443-302-2771 and speak with a friendly Care Manager from Home Care Assistance of Annapolis. We provide home care Annapolis families trust, and our highly trained and compassionate Parkinson’s caregivers know how to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms and assist with daily activities to promote complete safety at home. Reach out to us today – we look forward to hearing from you.