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Keep your Life with Parkinson's Disease - Physical Therapy

“Give Parkinson’s the fight of your life!” It’s an inspiring message of hope from Pearl Hernandez, an occupational therapist for Lee Health. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh I don’t travel anymore.’ But really you should! You shouldn’t give that up,” she said. Hernandez works with patients after they are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to help them maintain their mobility and independence. “We work on movement. We work on balance. We work on roles. You’re a husband; you’re a wife, you’re a grandfather, you’re a grandmother, you were a painter, a carpenter, these are the things that makeup you,” she said. It’s important for patients to maintain who they are and to continue doing the things they enjoy for as long as they can. “Get on that plane, get on that cruise ship, and take that hike, that’s neuron-dynamics. It’s so important to Parkinson’s to keep you challenged mentally,” said Hernandez. But if you travel, it’s important to stay loyal to your medications. “Keep on your meds schedule. Often, patients come into the clinic, and they don’t have their meds with them and then it’s their time and all of a sudden their tremors get aggravated and the freezing of the gait,” she said. Occupational therapy teaches patients and their caregivers what to expect as the disease progresses. The sooner a patient starts occupational and physical therapy, the better. “To learn, you really want the earlier stages because if you get into the later stages of four and five, unfortunately, the brain is not pliable enough to accept new learning,” said Hernandez. Helping patients learn and understand their future limitations is important---but reminding them to stay active as long as possible is key. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit