Taking on the role of family caregiver is becoming more common. However, older adults with Parkinson’s often have different needs compared to their healthier counterparts. Here are a few ways you can provide better care to an aging parent with Parkinson’s.
Learn about the Disease
Potential caregivers need to learn as much as possible about Parkinson’s disease. The disorder doesn’t progress the same in all adults, nor do all seniors experience similar symptoms according to a concrete timeline. By learning about the neurological disease, you can gain a better understanding of the type of care your loved one may require.
Address Safety Concerns
Aging adults with Parkinson’s often lose their balance when standing or walking. Ensure all pathways in the home are clear of obstructions. Any throw rugs must be firmly secured to the floor or removed due to the possibility of sliding and possibly causing a fall. Install grab bars in the shower, tub, and toilet areas of the bathroom, and make sure the floor of the shower has some type of nonslip surface. At night, ensure the home has sufficient lighting and consider using night-lights to illuminate the pathway to and from the bathroom.
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, an Oshkosh 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.
Prepare Healthy Meals
Seniors with Parkinson’s are prone to thinning bones. Make sure your loved one’s diet contains sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K. The medications prescribed to treat Parkinson’s tend to cause dehydration. Keep track of the amount of fluids your loved one consumes throughout the day, and encourage him or her to drink water periodically. In addition to drinking enough fluids, your parent should consume up to 25 grams of fiber each day to prevent constipation. In the later phases of the disease, swallowing may become difficult. If your loved one doesn’t consume enough calories, he or she may lose weight. Eating smaller meals more frequently sometimes helps. Liquefying meals is another option.
Consider Medication Side Effects
The typical medications for Parkinson’s disease can cause a number of undesirable effects, such as:
- Loss of appetite
• Compulsive eating
• Involuntary shaking or tremors
• Fluid retention in the form of edema
Levodopa must be taken on an empty stomach between meals. The medication interacts with protein, which inhibits adequate absorption of the drug.
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. Oshkosh seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Encourage Regular Exercise
Encourage your loved one to get as much physical activity as he or she can tolerate. Exercise helps seniors with Parkinson’s maintain their balance, mobility, and overall strength. Reading aloud and singing strengthen jaw and vocal muscles. Your loved one can also make faces in the mirror to strengthen the facial muscles. Water aerobics strengthen the musculoskeletal system without putting undue stress on weight-bearing joints. Swimming, walking, and practicing tai chi are other options. Your loved one must remember to gradually warm up before exercising and to cool down afterward.
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 elder care. 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. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (920) 573-6295.