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How to Provide Better Care to a Loved One with Parkinson’s

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Taking on the role of family caregiver is becoming more common. However, older adults with Parkinson’s often have different needs compared to their healthier counterparts. Here are a few ways you can provide better care to an aging parent with Parkinson’s.

Learn About the Disease

Potential caregivers need to learn as much as possible about Parkinson’s disease. The disorder doesn’t progress the same in all adults, nor do they all experience similar symptoms according to a concrete timeline. By learning about the neurological disease, you can gain a better understanding of the type of care your senior loved one may require. 

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, a Cleveland 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.

Address Safety Concerns

Aging adults with Parkinson’s often lose balance when standing or walking. Ensure all pathways in the home are clear of obstructions. Any throw rugs must be firmly secured to the floor or removed due to the possibility of sliding and possibly causing a fall. Install grab bars in the shower, tub, and toilet areas of the bathroom and make sure the floor of the shower has some type of nonslip surface. At night, ensure the home has sufficient lighting and consider using nightlights to illuminate the pathway to and from the bathroom.

Prepare Healthy Meals

Seniors with Parkinson’s are prone to bone thinning. Make sure your loved one’s diet contains sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K. The medications prescribed to treat Parkinson’s tend to cause dehydration. Keep track of the amount of fluids your loved one consumes throughout the day, and encourage him or her to drink water periodically. In addition to drinking enough fluids, your parent should consume up to 25 grams of fiber each day to prevent constipation. In the later phases of the disease, swallowing may become difficult. If your loved one doesn’t consume enough calories, he or she may lose weight. Eating smaller, frequent meals sometimes helps. Liquefying meals is another option. 

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 families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Consider Medication Side Effects

The medications for Parkinson’s disease can cause a number of undesirable effects such as:

• A loss of appetite 
• Compulsive eating 
• Involuntary shaking or tremors 
• Fluid retention in the form of edema 
• Nausea 
• Hallucinations

Levodopa must be taken on an empty stomach between meals. The medication interacts with protein, which inhibits adequate absorption of the drug.

Encourage Regular Exercise

Encourage your loved one to get as much physical activity as he or she can tolerate. Exercise helps seniors with Parkinson’s maintain their balance, mobility, and overall strength. Reading aloud or singing strengthens jaw and vocal muscles. Your loved one can also make faces in the mirror to strengthen the facial muscles. Water aerobics strengthen the musculoskeletal system without putting undue stress on weight-bearing joints. Swimming, walking, and practicing tai chi are other options. Your loved one must remember to gradually warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.

Caring for seniors with Parkinson’s can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Cleveland, OH family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn about our premier in-home care methods, give us a call at (440) 332-0170 today.

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