6 Guidelines for Caring for an Elderly Person with Parkinson’s

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Caring for a senior with Parkinson’s can be stressful, but developing a proper care plan could make tasks more manageable. Families should speak with their aging loved ones’ doctors and learn as much about the disease as possible, including effective caregiving strategies. Below are some tips families can use when caring for loved ones with Parkinson’s.

1. Maintain a Regular Exercise Routine

The best way to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms such as freezing, tremors, and poor posture is to keep your loved one physically active. Your loved one should see his or her physical therapist at least twice a week and possibly more often, based on his or her doctor’s orders. Exercising helps the muscles, brain, and heart remain healthy as the disease progresses. The best activities for older adults with Parkinson’s are:

  • Swimming
    • Cycling
    • Walking
    • Yoga

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 in-home 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 and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

2. Serve Soft Foods

Impaired muscle function can make it difficult to chew and swallow. To manage these problems and prevent malnutrition, prepare soft foods for your loved one that include basic minerals, vitamins, and other healthy nutrients. Some soft dishes you could prepare include vegetable soups, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cooked cereals, and smoothies.

3. Manage Medications

Managing multiple medications can be overwhelming for older adults with Parkinson’s, but for effective symptom relief, your loved one must take his or her medications as prescribed. Missing a dose of medicine in the middle and later stages of the disease could cause the condition to progress and make symptoms more noticeable. To make medication management less stressful for you and your parent, fill all the prescriptions at one pharmacy, use pill dispensers, and take advantage of medication apps that have timers.

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 24-hour care. Pembroke Pines seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

4. Communicate Effectively

Each day will be different for older adults with Parkinson’s. On some days, their attention spans, memory, and speaking abilities could be great, but other days might not be as good. Regardless, you should consistently use effective communication strategies, such as speaking clearly and using nonverbal tools such as notepads and emotion cards. Always remain patient, and learn to separate your loved one from the disease. 

5. Promote Independence

Seniors don’t have to let Parkinson’s control their lives. If you modify your parent’s home, he or she can continue to do many of the activities he or she has always enjoyed, especially during the earlier stages of Parkinson’s. For example, you could purchase taller chairs for the bedroom, living room, and kitchen areas. Taller furniture is easier to get in and out of without relying on others. 

6. Find Ways to Address Drooling

Staying socially active is vital because it boosts mental and emotional health. Some social activities also involve physical movements, which are beneficial for boosting motor skills. However, it’s not uncommon for older adults with Parkinson’s to withdraw from social activities due to drooling, which is a common symptom of Parkinson’s, and the awkwardness increases the risk of isolation. Ask your loved one’s speech therapist about exercises that strengthen the mouth muscles and reduce drooling. You can also purchase sweatbands your loved one can wear to discreetly wipe his or her mouth when socializing with others. 

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 Pembroke Pines homecare 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. If you need professional Parkinson’s care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (954) 374-8273.


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