Strategies for Managing the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in Seniors
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurologic disorder that affects many seniors today. As the average age of individuals rises, so does the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD). On a daily basis. One to two out of every 1000 people are affected by PD. However, this percentage increases to over one percent for those aged sixty and above; thus demonstrating that as we grow older our chances of contracting PD become increasingly higher. Its symptoms can include tremors, difficulty walking, stiffness, and problems with balance, among others. According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, approximately one million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are strategies that seniors and their caregivers can use to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are some strategies for managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in seniors:
The first step in managing Parkinson’s disease is to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is not determined with a single test. A neurologist, who has expertise in neurological disorders, will diagnose the condition based on your medical history and an examination of signs and symptoms. By conducting a thorough physical assessment combined with obtaining information from you about your health, they are able to determine whether or not Parkinson’s disease is present. Early detection can be key to developing a successful treatment plan.
Parkinson’s disease medications can help manage symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, and rigidity. There are several types of medication available, and a doctor can help seniors find the one that works best for them. It is important for seniors with Parkinson’s to take their medications as prescribed since missing doses can make the symptoms of the disease worse.
Regular exercise is critical for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. Regular exercise helps to increase flexibility, range of motion, and balance. Exercise can also help reduce the severity of symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and stiffness. Some activities that may be beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s include walking, cycling, and yoga. Seniors should speak with their doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Parkinson’s disease can sometimes affect speech, making it difficult for seniors to communicate. Speech therapy can help seniors communicate more effectively and confidently. It helps to improve their communication and swallowing skills. A speech therapist can also provide strategies to help seniors cope with any changes in cognition or memory that may have resulted from the disease.
Occupational therapy can help seniors with Parkinson’s disease to learn new ways to do things, adapt activities or modify their environment to keep them safe. An occupational therapist can also provide equipment or tools that will make it easier for seniors to complete daily activities.
It is important for seniors with Parkinson’s to follow a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods can help them maintain their strength and energy levels, as well as manage their weight. For optimal brain health, seniors diagnosed with the disease must fuel their bodies with a nutritious diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains; these foods are essential for maintaining mental acuity. It is also important for seniors to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Rest and Sleep
Getting enough rest is essential for seniors with Parkinson’s. Insufficient sleep can worsen the symptoms of the disease and cause fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and depression. Seniors should aim to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Creating a consistent nightly routine can help promote better sleep habits.
Assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs can help make tasks easier for seniors with Parkinson’s. These devices can also provide additional support and stability while walking or performing daily activities. To make everyday endeavors that much simpler, adaptive utensils, adjustable beds and clothing with flexible fastenings can be immensely helpful. Assistive devices should be tailored to the individual’s needs and lifestyle; it is important to speak with a doctor or physical therapist to find the best device for each senior.
Complementary therapies can help seniors with Parkinson’s disease manage their symptoms. Massage and music therapy have been found to be beneficial in managing the pain, stiffness, and fatigue associated with the disease. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and meditation can also help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. To find the best complementary therapy for each individual, seniors should speak with their doctor.
Joining a support group can be beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. Support groups provide an opportunity for seniors to connect with others who are living with the same condition and share their experiences, challenges, and successes. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge about the disease from experts and other members of the group.
Regular doctor visits
Parkinson’s disease symptoms can change over time. Regular checkups with a doctor can allow caregivers to stay updated about the disease process and develop strategies to manage symptoms when they arise.
Receiving in-home care from specialists in senior care can be incredibly beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. A caregiver can provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, while also providing companionship. Caregivers can help monitor symptoms, assist with medication management, and provide transportation if necessary. With the right home health services, seniors can maintain their independence and continue living safely at home.
While Parkinson’s disease can significantly impact seniors’ quality of life, these strategies can help them manage symptoms and improve their overall wellbeing. It’s critical to work together with a healthcare team to ensure seniors get the best possible care and support throughout their Parkinson’s disease journey.
In addition, it’s important to remember that Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition, and it’s important to stay on top of symptoms in order to live as healthy a life as possible. Should you need additional information or support, do not hesitate to reach out for help. At Silver Companions, we have an esteemed team of senior care experts who are always ready to answer any inquiries and provide necessary support. Contact us today at (678) 494-8129 or visit our website at www.silvercompanions.com to learn more.
Let us help you manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and improve your loved one’s quality of life!