To provide the best care for aging parents with Parkinson’s, caregivers need to understand the disease. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are unique, and family caregivers need to be prepared for them. Here are a few tips for caring for a senior with Parkinson’s.
Provide Assistance with Walking
Some of the most common signs of Parkinson’s disease include muscle rigidity, poor balance, and tremors. These symptoms impact mobility, and you may need to provide assistance for your loved one.
In the early stages of the disease, your loved one may simply walk more slowly than normal. Your loved one’s gait may be shuffling, and he or she might drag one foot. As muscle control and balance worsens, your loved one may be at risk for falls and injuries. Seniors with Parkinson’s don’t always have the instinctive reflexes needed to prevent falls.
At the beginning, try to give your loved one as much independence as possible. Let your loved one walk independently, even if his or her gait is slow. As the condition starts to worsen, you may need to provide assistive devices or lend an arm as your loved one walks across a room. Walkers and canes can help seniors with Parkinson’s stay mobile for as long as possible.
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 home care service. 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 serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
Offer Help with Dressing
Tremors are among the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s. Frequent tremors usually affect the hands at first, and they can spread to other areas of the body as the disease progresses. These movements aren’t entirely uncontrollable, and there are therapies that make tremors more manageable. Nonetheless, tremors impact motor coordination, which can make it difficult for seniors with Parkinson’s to perform daily activities like getting dressed.
To boost your loved one’s independence, invest in assistive devices that help him or her pull buttons through holes and zip up zippers. If these devices don’t work, find clothing that has closures made of Velcro, which can be opened and closed with minimal assistance.
Living with serious health conditions 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. Philadelphia seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Consider Safety Precautions
Seniors with Parkinson’s are at even greater risk for slips and falls than the average older adult. If your loved one is still mobile, make sure his or her living space is safe. Clear all clutter from the floor, and make sure rugs are firmly secured. Arrange the furniture so it doesn’t impede pathways, and try to move the largest items toward the walls.
Assist with Meal Prep & Eating
Decreased motor coordination can affect the ability to eat. The inability to eat is further complicated by the fact that Parkinson’s can affect the throat muscles, making swallowing painful or difficult.
If your loved one wants to eat independently, purchase utensils specially designed for people with Parkinson’s. These utensils usually have grips that help seniors hold on tight, and they’re weighted, which counteracts the effects of tremors.
For seniors who have difficulty swallowing, soft food is ideal. Serve yogurt instead of breakfast cereal, and choose mashed potatoes instead of baked potatoes.
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, a Philadelphia senior home 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. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (215) 645-4663 to learn more about our customized care plans.