Tremors, balance issues, slowed movement, and swallowing difficulties are some of the common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Issues like these can present challenges when caring for an elderly loved one with this nervous system disorder. The good news is you can care effectively for your loved one in ways that enhance his or her quality of life as much as possible.
Educate Yourself About Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, and the symptoms don’t always show up in logical order, which is why it can be helpful to learn more about Parkinson’s so you’ll know what to expect as you care for your loved one. The Parkinson’s Foundation has a website you can visit, and there are plenty of good books on the subject that could be helpful. Your loved one’s doctor can also be a reliable source of information.
Lend a Hand When Needed
Many seniors with Parkinson’s prefer to remain as independent as possible. Still, your loved one may need some assistance with certain tasks as the condition advances, but he or she might be too proud to ask for it. Volunteer to lend a hand when you can tell it’s clearly needed. Such efforts might involve:
• Running errands
• Helping with more demanding household tasks
• Assisting with meal prep—this is also a great way to socialize and communicate with your loved one
Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with the everyday tasks of life, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
Encourage Regular Exercise
Physical activity helps the brain make better use of dopamine, a chemical associated with movement and the delivery of nerve cell signals. Dopamine is often not produced at normal levels in people with PD. Some of the many forms of exercise that can be safe and effective for older adults with Parkinson’s include:
• Daily walks at a comfortable pace
• Water-based exercises such as swimming, water walking, and water aerobics
• Yoga and similar controlled-movement exercises
Help Them Think About Other Things
Elderly people with Parkinson’s sometimes become depressed or anxious if they spend too much time thinking about their condition and how it might affect them as it progresses. Help your loved one remain focused on the positive things in life by:
• Talking about what’s going in your life
• Playing games or reading books together
• Working together on fun activities such as scrapbooking
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Amarillo seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Help Them Get Out More
Another way to get your loved one to stop focusing too much on his or her condition is to encourage getting out of the house and enjoying things that matter to him or her. Even if your loved one has mobility issues, he or she can still enjoy day trips and evenings out if you make arrangements ahead of time. For instance, you might choose a restaurant or movie theater with a ramp or call ahead and arrange for special seating accommodations.
Be Patient and Observant
Parkinson’s can affect the ability to project vocally, which may make it difficult for you to clearly hear or understand what your loved one is saying. Be patient, and give your loved one time to express him or herself. Also, be on the lookout for changes in your loved one’s symptoms, which might include:
• Depression or unusual mood shifts
• Increased fatigue
• Difficulty swallowing certain foods
If you notice any of these changes, talk to your loved one’s doctor. Often, appropriate adjustments to their treatment plans can help seniors with PD better manage symptoms as they change or become more problematic.
Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, an Amarillo senior care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. For reliable Parkinson’s home care, contact us at (806) 803-9991 today.