Are there guidelines or specific movements that are used to assess a clients strength and abilities that has Parkinson’s Disease? Is there maybe a questionnaire as well to assess the overall status of a client like that? I will be getting some info from her physician but would like to make my own assessment to monitor progress.
I speak from personal experience. I have trained a client with PD from his diagnosis on and attended his memorial service last year. Parkinson’s is one of those diseases where we as trainers have to reverse our thinking in many ways.
The main shift in paradigm is the idea of progressing. Yes, in the beginning you will see some progress, mainly in terms of strength and flexibility, but over time you will fight to maintain what you have and will have to let go a little at a time. Be aware that your client is fully aware of what is going on even when she no longer has the ability of facial expressions or when speech becomes impaired to the point that you can hardly understand her.
That makes the question of assessment a tricky one because it will serve soon only to demonstrate how much has been lost. Eventually I was very careful in handing to my client only forms of resistance that are difficult to quantify so that it would not be so easy to see how we were slowly regressing.
Having watched the whole sad progress of this disease, I can say that I hate Parkinson’s with a passion. Training a client with it is both emotionally rewarding and frustrating. Much as we would like to, this is not a war that we can win. Which is not to say that you cannot immensely help with improving your client’s life to the degree possible.