When going to close friends for dinner, who have a lovely new dining table and chairs, I realized how understanding and in-tune with my needs regarding Parkinson’s they have become. They very kindly kept some of their old dining chairs knowing full well, that if a chair is too high for me, sitting at a dining table can become very uncomfortable, thereby cutting the evening short. So as nice as the new chairs look, I sit on one of the old chairs that is not too high, yet not too low and just right for me. This is beginning to sound like Goldilocks and the three bears, lucky I’m a brunette and there’s no porridge involved with this story, but I digress, back to the subject at hand: “Are you sitting comfortably?”
The height of a chair makes a considerable difference, but especially if living with Parkinson’s.
My husband is a dab hand at carpentry and has made much of our furniture, and so it took him but a minute to put together a small wooden platform (far lower than a stool – just 4 cm high). So now when I’m sitting at our dining table, instead of my feet not quite touching the floor, and the edge of the chair cutting into and pressing on the back of my thigh muscles, this little plinth does the trick. Not only does it enable me sit for longer, enjoying the company of those around the table, but relieves a little of the unpleasant muscle pains in my legs, and I find I'm sitting upright instead of hunched over.
This may sound like a simple idea, a small thing, and maybe you’ve already come up with this idea or something similar. By doing all you can to make your surroundings as comfortable as possible, even if only improving your quality of life by some small degree, it’s better than nothing. And for now, I’m willing to take any improvement I can.
I wrote last week for The Huffington Post an article about the unpleasant and all too common problem of painful curling toes that many Parkinson’s patients suffer from. I received a flood of e-mails and messages from fellow sufferers with various suggestions, so thank you everyone who wrote in. I have found that two things combined have made a difference; the platform to put my feet upon when sitting at the dining table and an exercise that I write more about in this week’s article: Attention Parkinson’s Toe Curlers!