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Can a Senior Living with Parkinson’s Lead a Normal Life?

By , 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is classified as a neurological disorder, which means it affects nerve cells that transmit signals to and within the brain. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates about 1 percent of all seniors have some form of this condition. However, having Parkinson’s doesn’t mean your senior loved one can’t still live a normal life. Today, we’re going to focus on what can be done to achieve this goal.

Handling Stress Is Essential

Physical and emotional stress can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in older adults. Make an effort to be mindful of your loved one’s overall health, and encourage him or her to:

• Keep up with doctors’ appointments
• Mention any new physical concerns, such as increased instability
• Keep a journal, join a support group, and explore deep breathing and other relaxation techniques to maintain strong emotional health

Medication Often Manages Symptoms

While Parkinson’s is a progressive condition, people with this disease have varying degrees of symptoms. The good news is medication is often effective at easing some of the more disruptive symptoms associated with PD. One of the most effective PD-specific drugs is levodopa, which restores normal levels of an important brain chemical called dopamine.

Complementary Therapies May Enhance Quality of Life

The purpose of complementary therapies is to boost overall quality of life for seniors with Parkinson’s disease by supplementing basic medical care. Therapies that have the potential to enhance quality of daily life for seniors with Parkinson’s disease typically include:

• Speech and language therapy to enhance communication and help with swallowing difficulties
• Physical therapy to maintain limb function and increase coordination and balance
• Occupational therapy to provide ways to make daily living tasks easier

Some seniors with PD also benefit from forms of therapy that help them relax, work on their fine motor skills, and take their minds off their condition. This might involve art and music therapy or even pet therapy.

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of senior home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Diet, Exercise, & Proactive Health Screenings Are Important

Because of the physical and emotional toll Parkinson’s disease can take on the body with age, diet and exercise can play a significant role in the ability to lead a normal life. General diet and exercise recommendations for those with PD include:

• Eating balanced, nutrient-rich meals
• Avoiding sugary snacks and other foods that tend to increase inflammation and affect joints and the ability to move
• Focusing on exercises such as yoga, low-impact aerobics, and water-based exercises that help with balance, coordination, and muscle strength

Dental and foot health screenings can help with quality of life as well, because PD medications sometimes affect gums and teeth, and people with PD also tend to be more susceptible to foot problems.

If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Cleveland, OH, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

The Right Frame of Mind Makes It Easier to Live a Normal Life with PD

On average, people with PD have life spans similar to those of the general population. For this reason, it’s important as a caregiver to avoid thinking of Parkinson’s as a death sentence. In fact, older adults with Parkinson’s can live normal lives with the right type of support and care. Also, things won’t change overnight when your loved one is diagnosed with PD, so help him or her maintain a positive frame of mind by:

• Learning more about Parkinson’s together
• Encouraging him or her to express fears and concerns
• Exploring options with therapy and symptom management
• Simply enjoying each day and facing challenges related to the disease together.

Parkinson’s is just one of the serious health conditions that can impact quality of life. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Cleveland, OH, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call us today at (440) 332-0170 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.

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