5 Tips for Providing Care to an Aging Parent with Parkinson’s

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Family members who assume the role of caregiver for a parent living with Parkinson’s can make life easier for both themselves and their loved one. As the disease doesn’t affect all seniors at the same rate or in the same way, caregivers should make a point of learning about the progression of symptoms. Being equipped with knowledge enables families to plan for the future in the following ways.

1. Make Adaptations to the Home

Evaluate each room in your loved one’s home. Take into account that one day he or she may need to use a cane, walker, or another assistive device as the ability to walk becomes impaired. Ensure doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter. Clear the pathways to prevent stumbling, tripping, and falling. Consider replacing plush carpets with wood, tile, or some other type of smooth flooring. Furnishings should be positioned to allow sufficient floor space for the maneuverability of assistive devices. Place personal items within easy reach whether your loved one is sitting in a wheelchair or on the furniture.

Making changes at home is an important step in providing Parkinson’s care. However, your parent might need assistance with mobility or daily tasks. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same homecare services. Montgomery families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

2. Simplify Bathing & Hygiene Tasks

Due to balance problems, it’s safer for seniors with Parkinson’s to sit while bathing. Install a shower chair and a handheld showerhead for convenience, as well as grab bars along the side of the tub or shower and by the toilet. Assist with bathing as needed. Brushing hair and teeth often becomes challenging if muscle spasms or tremors occur. Adaptive devices may help.

3. Address Mobility Deficits

As the disease progresses, leg muscles commonly freeze or become rigid. When this situation occurs, try having your loved one move gently from side to side to gain the momentum to lift a leg. Massaging the arms and legs several times during the day relieves muscle cramps, spasms, and tremors. The therapy is also pleasant, relaxing, and soothing. Older adults with Parkinson’s may experience aching muscles and joints. Heating pads, warm moist compresses, and over-the-counter arthritic rubs often alleviate symptoms. Squeezing a soft rubber ball calms muscles and enables the fingers and hands to remain useful. In fact, any type of exercise helps large muscle groups and joints remain strong and flexible.

Parkinson’s disease can prevent seniors from leading active and healthy lives. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly care. Montgomery, Alabama, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

4. Take Precautions during Mealtimes

Eating utensils equipped with specially designed handles are easier to grip and use. Plates, bowls, and glasses must be within reach. At some point, chewing and swallowing may become challenging. Eventually, your loved one may need assistance with feeding. Make sure the atmosphere remains stress-free, and allow all of the time needed to eat. Chop or puree foods if needed. Encourage taking a drink to ease the difficulty of swallowing. Choking may become a problem, which means someone should always be present during meals.

5. Manage Cognitive and Communication Impairment

In the later stages of the disease, your loved one might become confused and disorientated. Take the time to explain tasks before performing them. When speech becomes difficult, allow time to verbalize. Provide communication devices if necessary.

Parkinson’s care is a continuous process, and getting help from professional caregivers can benefit both seniors and their families. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Montgomery families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. To hire a caregiver for your elderly parent, call Home Care Assistance today at (334) 593-3988.

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