Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Accidental Falls -- prevention & control; Aged; Exercise Therapy; Parkinson Disease -- complications; Quality of Life; Risk Assessment


Purpose/Hypothesis: As a person ages, the risk of a fall increases. Parkinson Disease (PD) is most commonly seen in the elderly population, which presents with symptoms such as bradykinesia, decreased balance, tremors, postural instability, and muscle weakness. These symptoms are associated with an increase in falls; therefore, a person with PD is more susceptible to falls than the average elderly individual. Exercise has been shown to combat those symptoms affecting people with PD. This study is an extension of a previous study, which examined the effect of a community based exercise program, for people with PD, on quality of life and decreasing fall risk.

Methods: Eight subjects, six females and two males, ranging from 55-77 years old, participated biweekly in a community exercise program that incorporated challenging exercises focused on transitional, big, and rotational movements while also including cognitive and verbal demands. Pre-testing was completed followed by a posttest administered three months later and again twelve months later. Outcome measures tested included gait speed, 30 second sit-to-stand, timed up and go (TUG), cognitive timed up and go (CTUG), and the quality of life questionnaire, the PDQ-8. Pre and posttest scores were compared to evaluate if statistically significant change was present or if trends were detected.

Results: No significant positive difference was found in TUG, CTUG, 30 second sit to stand, gait speed, or the POQ-8 in the majority of the individuals with PD participating in the group exercise program. Although the results were not consistent with the previous year's data or current research on the effects of exercise on PD symptoms, all the participating individuals agreed the group exercise program should be continued and expanded.

Conclusions: The findings are not consistent with current literature, but the positive findings in this study were the psychological and psychosocial aspects of being active with a group of people who have a similar outlook on life.