5 Parkinson’s Care Tips for Family Caregivers

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Many seniors with Parkinson’s disease are independent and require no help with the activities of daily living. However, some are moderately or even totally dependent on their caregivers for assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, and eating. Regardless of the level of disability, there are effective ways to help seniors with Parkinson’s live life to the fullest.

1. Ensure Medication Is Taken

It’s essential that seniors with Parkinson’s disease take all their prescribed medication. Failure to do so may result in stiffness, worsening of tremors, and erratic behavior. Parkinson’s disease can cause memory problems, so even if your aging loved one appears lucid, he or she may have memory lapses and forget to take his or her prescribed medication. 

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.

2. Take Notes at Medical Appointments

Elderly people with Parkinson’s may miss pertinent information when they visit the doctor. Accompany your loved one to all his or her medical appointments and write down important highlights. If your loved one has vision impairment, get permission from the healthcare provider to record the appointment. Then you and your loved one can refer back to the recording if you have any questions.

3. Report Health Changes

Subtle changes in physical and mental status may indicate the neurological progression of Parkinson’s. Lapses in speech, staring, limping, or the inability to grasp a writing or eating utensil should be reported to the physician. If warranted, the doctor may refer your loved one to a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment. 

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. Des Moines seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

4. Pay Attention to Dietary Needs

Seniors with Parkinson’s may develop taste disorders and stop enjoying foods that were once favorites. Spicing up food may make it more palatable for people who have a diminished sense of taste because of Parkinson’s. Also, swallowing problems may necessitate an altered diet. The neurological effects of Parkinson’s disease may prevent food from going down the esophagus, raising the risk of choking and aspiration pneumonia if the food is aspirated into the lungs. Monitor your loved one during mealtimes, and if he or she has difficulty swallowing or coughs violently, tell the doctor, who may recommend a swallowing evaluation by a speech pathologist. The evaluation will determine whether your loved one can tolerate thin liquids, and if he or she cannot, you’ll need to purchase a commercial thickening product to add to thin liquids such as broths, soft drinks, and juices.

5. Try Complementary Therapies

In addition to ensuring your loved one follows his or her medical treatment plan, consider complementary therapies, such as therapeutic massage, dance therapy, music therapy, and aromatherapy. These therapies can enhance mobility, promote socialization, and keep your loved one from becoming agitated or anxious. While these complementary therapies are thought to be safe and beneficial for people with neurological problems such as those associated with stroke and Parkinson’s, make sure you check with the physician before starting them.

Caring for a senior 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 Des Moines elderly 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. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (515) 264-2438 today.

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