Apr 03, 2024

Wii Fit and other activities help clients to ‘Keep active with Parkinson’s’

Wii Fit and other activities help clients to ‘Keep active with  Parkinson’s’
Group photo f Resthaven residents engaging in a fitness activity. Image supplied by Resthaven.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and for those who have received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, ongoing aerobic activities can assist with symptoms such as a decline in mobility, postural instability and cognitive decline.

‘Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that can affect people from all walks of life,’ Lachlan Adams, Resthaven Occupational Therapist says. ‘We know that exercise can improve pain and stiffness, as well as encourage neuroplasticity and help with fatigue and energy levels.’

To encourage and promote exercise for those with Parkinson’s disease, Resthaven Northern Community Services at Elizabeth holds two occupational therapist-run classes every Wednesday called ‘Keep Active with Parkinson’s’.

‘Our main goals are to help participants maintain a high level of function, improve their social engagement and maintain existing cognitive function,’ Lachlan says. ‘It’s also a chance to improve each participant’s understanding of how Parkinson’s affects their life and for them to maintain contact with a team of allied health professionals experienced in supporting self-management of the disease.’

Class activities have been prepared specifically for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Activities include strength and balance exercises, cognitive challenges, fine motor tasks and neuroactive exercises.

Participants can also use Wii Fit exercise training in conjunction with traditional therapies.

‘We have the Wii Fit game and balance board here for clients to use,’ Lachlan says. ‘There is some evidence that utilising Wii Fit exercise training alongside traditional therapies produces improvement in coordination, balance and fatigue. I have found most clients really enjoy using the Wii and trying to beat their best scores. It creates a nice competitive challenge for them that generally brings out their best.’

Resthaven can facilitate a referral to the service via My Aged Care.

‘Clients keep coming back to the sessions because the environment is fun, and we promote social engagement,’ Lachlan says. ‘We encourage people to work towards a common goal with friends, and ‘to keep active with Parkinson’s.’

Other occupational therapist-led exercise groups run by Resthaven Northern Community Services include ‘Keep Fit’ at Elizabeth, and ‘Falls and Balance’ and ‘Fitball Drumming’ groups in Gawler.

Physiotherapist-led classes for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, and ‘Falls and Balance’ and ‘Hydrotherapy’ classes are held on Thursday mornings and Thursday afternoons respectively. For more information visit www.resthaven.asn.au

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