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Treating Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide for Family Caregivers

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Having a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging. Fortunately, there are many effective interventions that can increase mobility and balance so your loved one can better manage these limitations. Here are some important treatment options for managing Parkinson’s.

Massage

Massage stimulates circulation while promoting muscle relaxation. People with Parkinson’s disease often complain of muscle pain, cramps, and muscle spasticity. Therapeutic massage increases mobility and gait and may even stave off insomnia. Massage also helps the brain release “feel-good” hormones known as endorphins, which can keep depression and anxiety at bay. It’s not uncommon for those with Parkinson’s to experience bouts of anxiety and depression, which are often treated with psychotropic medications. While effective in lifting mood, psychotropics may have significant side effects, including confusion, vision impairment, diminished cognition, acid reflux, diarrhea, and constipation. If you believe your loved one would benefit from massage, make sure to seek out a professional who has experience working with seniors with Parkinson’s.

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 homecare services. 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 and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Nutritional Intervention

Vitamin C–rich foods boost immune function and reduce the risk for infections. Also, eating foods high in magnesium, such as almonds and bananas, may ease spasms in seniors with muscle cramps. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can also keep the bones and hip joints strong, which may reduce the risk for falls and fractures.

Living with a serious health condition 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. Kingwood seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Occupational Therapy

People with Parkinson’s may have difficulty performing the routine activities of daily life. Occupational therapy helps people with Parkinson’s disease learn alternative methods of grooming, dressing, bathing, and eating. While physical therapy is also an important part of a Parkinson’s treatment plan, it mainly focuses on enhancing the person’s ability to move. Occupational therapy is especially helpful for seniors with Parkinson’s who are unable to grasp eating utensils. The therapist can provide your loved one with utensils that have built-up handles, which make it easier to eat independently. If your loved one is unable to participate in an outpatient occupational therapy program, the therapist may be able to schedule in-home visits.

Medications

Because Parkinson’s disease often causes cogwheel rigidity patterns and muscle spasms, seniors may have difficulty with balance, movement, and ambulation. Muscle relaxants and prescription pain relievers can soothe sore muscles. These medications may also reduce the intensity and frequency of spasms as well as the risk for falls. While muscle relaxants and pain medications may enhance muscle function, they can also have side effects, such as dizziness, low blood pressure, blurred vision, and fatigue. If your loved one develops side effects as a result of medication, the physician may lower the dosage or discontinue the medication altogether.

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 Kingwood at-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 dedicated Care Managers today at 832-412-1345 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.