5 Coordination Exercises for Older Adults with Parkinson’s

By 8  am on

Seniors with Parkinson’s disease often experience rigid muscles and tremors that result in loss of muscle coordination and balance. These issues make it difficult to move and may cause a fall or injury. The following coordination exercises can boost muscle coordination and balance. 

1. Walking

Walking is a simple exercise that has major benefits for seniors with Parkinson’s. Regularly walking enhances gait, strengthens muscles, increases step strength, and boosts coordination. If your senior loved one doesn’t exercise regularly, encourage him or her to begin by taking short walks outdoors. Look for a path that’s well cared for or suggest walking around the neighborhood. Walking with friends can help your loved one stay on track with fitness goals and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression that are often associated with Parkinson’s disease. 

2. Yoga

Yoga involves exercises that stretch the muscles, build coordination, and increase mindfulness. The American Parkinson Disease Association recommends yoga, as it has been found to reduce tremors and increase gait steadiness. Check out local gyms or community centers for yoga classes. An extra-thick yoga mat may make the experience more comfortable for your loved one.  Even a senior in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s can get the benefits of regular exercise, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. In-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

3. Dancing

Dancing is a great way to socialize while increasing coordination. Ballroom dancing may be especially beneficial because it helps seniors with Parkinson’s increase coordination while being able to rely on partners if they lose their balance. Look into dance centers near your loved one’s home and inquire about ballroom dancing classes. If your loved one already knows how to dance, encourage him or her to practice several times a week with a partner or friend. 

4. Tai Chi

Tai chi is a form of martial arts that encourages balance through a series of slow movements. Studies have found that tai chi may be especially helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease. A 2012 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that participants who participated in tai chi classes twice per week increased their range of motion, leg strength, and balance. Study participants also reported experiencing 67 percent fewer falls while taking the classes.  If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Des Moines respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

5. Fine Motor Skills Exercises

Along with doing coordination exercises that boost gross motor skills, seniors must strengthen their fine motor skills. Seniors with Parkinson’s often have a difficult time holding pens, buttoning buttons, or putting on makeup. Strengthening fine motor muscle coordination may help. To work on these skills, give your loved one objects to hold, such as stress balls, tape measures, or apples. Have your loved one rotate his or her wrists clockwise and then counterclockwise for one minute. Repeat daily and encourage your loved one to try to go for longer periods as he or she builds strength. Additionally, your loved one can practice picking up and aligning toothpicks or stringing beads.  Seniors with Parkinson’s who need help exercising safely can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. Des Moines elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (515) 264-2438 today.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation