Tips on How to Care for an Elderly Person with Parkinson’s disease

There are thousands of new cases of Parkinson’s disease diagnosed each year and it is most common in those who are over the age of 65. Parkinson’s disease is more common in men than in women, but both genders can get the disease so you should watch for symptoms in all of your elderly loved ones. Parkinson’s is caused by neurological damage that causes the neurons to die which impairs muscle movement and function. In this article we would like to offer some tips on how you can help an elderly person with Parkinson’s disease deal with their symptoms.

Body Tremors

Body tremors are the most common symptom of Parkinson’s disease and they can be very embarrassing for patients. Body tremors usually start small and begin on one side of the body and then become worse over time and spread to both sides of the body. Those with Parkinson’s disease will also experience bradykinesia which causes their movements to become much slower. The tremors and slow movement will make it hard for seniors to do their everyday activities such as getting dressed and taking care of themselves. Family caregivers can help their loved ones by providing them with assistance when they need it so that they are always taken care of. If your loved one is uncomfortable having you dress them or assist them with personal hygiene, you can hire a homecare service to help them with the things they are unable to do on their own. If your loved one experiences a lot of tremors while eating, you can try to serve them meals that are easy to eat and will not make a huge mess if the food gets dropped like rice or soup would. You can also provide them with plastic cups so that they will not get broken if your loved one drops them.

Physical Therapy

Exercise and physical therapy can be very helpful for those with Parkinson’s disease because it helps keep their body in shape and minimizes their symptoms. Family caregivers can help their loved ones by finding them a physical therapist and making sure that they have reliable transportation so that they can attend their therapy sessions. Those who are interested in additional exercise can find a fitness center to go to or look for an exercise class in their area. Finding a fitness center with a pool can be beneficial for seniors because exercising in water is less strenuous on the joints since the water absorbs body weight and makes it is easier to move. Parkinson’s disease can also affect balance, so family caregivers should make sure that their loved one walks around as much as possible and holds on to something for support if necessary so that they can build up their strength and balance.  These things will not make the symptoms disappear completely, but they can greatly diminish the symptoms if you make sure that your loved one completes them on a regular basis.

Group Wellness Programs

Group wellness programs are available in many areas and can be helpful for those with Parkinson’s disease to attend. Group wellness programs allow seniors to meet with others who also have Parkinson’s disease so that they can discuss their challenges and share tips on how they manage their symptoms. Depression and feelings of isolation are common in those with Parkinson’s disease; meeting with a support group on a regular basis can help prevent this. Family caregivers can attend the meetings with their loved one or help out by making sure that they have transportation to their meetings so that they will be able to attend on a regular basis and be able to connect with those who understand what they are going through.

Safe Living Environment

The last thing that family caregivers should make sure they do is to provide their loved one with a safe living environment so that they do not get hurt. Having a stool or bench in the shower as well as grab bars can help with balance problems that those with Parkinson’s disease face. It is also important to keep things off the floor and make sure that the house is well lit so that they will not trip over anything or fall and get hurt, especially at night. Putting things in easy to reach cabinets is also helpful because it keeps your loved one from having to strain while trying to get things. Making these small adjustments around the house will make a huge difference for seniors with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease can be difficult for some people to manage on their own; following these tips is a great way to help your loved one manage their symptoms and live a happy life.

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