Parkinson’s disease comes with many daily challenges, and providing care for an elderly loved one with the disorder may seem difficult. However, the experience may also be rewarding. Here are a few tips on providing care for an elderly parent with Parkinson’s.
Learn about the Disease
Prior to assuming the role of caregiver, gain all the information you can about Parkinson’s disease. Learn about the condition and the symptoms to better understand what to expect and the type of care needed. Explore the medication regimens along with current treatments and research.
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 Align Home Care, a leading provider of in-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Take Safety Precautions
While your loved one initially may not have difficulty with balance and walking, these functions often become challenging with time. Uncontrollable muscle spasms, tremors, and musculoskeletal stiffness interfere with balance and mobility. Make sure to remove obstructions from frequently traveled pathways and place commonly used items within easy reach. For some seniors, background noise also causes difficulty and exacerbates Parkinson’s symptoms.
Cut Food into Smaller Pieces
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, your loved one may experience difficulty chewing and swallowing solid food. Cut the food into small, manageable pieces to reduce the time needed for chewing. Small bites are also easier to chew, and swallowing one bite at a time ensures the proper passage of food into the stomach. Make sure your loved one demonstrates good posture while eating, and invest in specialized eating utensils if needed. Offer a straw for drinking liquids.
Parkinson’s disease can make it difficult for seniors to manage daily tasks independently. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Align Home Care, a leading provider of elder care. Kennebunk Align Home Care provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Seniors with Parkinson’s often consult with their physical therapists for recommendations on how to maintain physical flexibility and function. Depending on the stage of the disease, your loved one might need to make routine visits for evaluation and therapy. Older adults can alleviate stiffness by engaging in regular exercise such as water aerobics, cycling, tai chi, or other non-weight bearing activities. Stretching once or twice daily also helps seniors maintain range of motion.
Prevent Exhaustion & Overheating
Aging adults with Parkinson’s commonly become fatigued or overheated when engaging in physical activity. Monitor your loved one’s activity level and encourage him or her to take breaks to cool down. Adequate hydration and participation in indoor activities during the summer may also prevent overheating.
Uncontrolled spasms and tremors can make daily tasks difficult to manage. Encourage your loved one to limit or avoid caffeinated beverages that overstimulate nerve and muscle cells. If a hand tremor causes issues, pressing the arm from the elbow up firmly against the body may stabilize the movement. For extra stability, seniors should also consider wearing hand braces or applying firm pressure on a tabletop.
Caring for seniors with serious health issues 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. Kennebunk, ME, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Align Home Care. 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (207) 606-8419.