According to UCB Canada Inc., one out of every 500 people in Canada is affected by Parkinson’s disease, and nearly 7,000 Canadians are diagnosed with this progressive nervous system disorder each year. If your senior loved one is living with Parkinson’s, here are some of the best ways to treat and/or manage this disease.
Difficulty walking, slow movement (bradykinesia), impaired balance, and tremors are among the common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s that may be controllable with medication. Dopamine levels are lower than normal in seniors with Parkinson’s, but the neurotransmitter can’t be directly administered because it’s not able to enter the brain. However, certain medications can help seniors manage the symptoms. Common options include:
• Levodopa – Considered the most effective Parkinson’s medication, levodopa is able to pass through the brain and be converted into dopamine.
• Levodopa infusion – Seniors with more advanced Parkinson’s symptoms may benefit from this version of levodopa delivered through a feeding tube.
• Dopamine agonists – Medications of this nature mimic the effects of dopamine within the brain.
• MAO B inhibitors – Drugs within this classification are so named because they prevent the breakdown of dopamine already being produced within the brain.
• Anticholinergics – Seniors with tremors as their most problematic symptom may benefit from medications of this nature.
• Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors – These medications minimize dopamine breakdown, which extends the effects of levodopa.
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 senior 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.
It’s understandable to not want your loved one to depend solely on medication. Balance problems are sometimes manageable with exercises that focus on core muscle groups while also promoting flexibility and preserving range of motion and stability.
Fortunately, many forms of exercise can target these muscles in a way that’s appropriate and safe for seniors with Parkinson’s. Seniors with Parkinson’s can often benefit from:
• Water-based exercises (e.g., water aerobics, water walking, and swimming)
• Walking, hiking, or jogging
• Certain yoga or tai chi movements
• Marching or dancing
• Indoor treadmills or cycles
Gardening and other favorite activities can also allow your loved one to get some exercise in a way that’s enjoyable and relaxing. Even simply playing with a dog or another family pet can be considered a form of exercise.
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. Victoria seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, there’s no Parkinson’s-specific diet, but there are some healthy foods that may optimize the effects of Parkinson’s medications and keep bones and soft tissues strong as the condition progresses. Reap the benefits of healthy foods as much as possible by encouraging your loved one to enjoy a diet that includes:
• Whole grains, brown rice, and other fiber-rich foods to ease issues with constipation, which are common among seniors with Parkinson’s
• Walnuts, cashews, and other nuts that tend to be good for brain health
• Fatty fish, green leafy veggies, and low-fat dairy products to maintain optimal bone and joint health
• 6–8 glasses of water per day to boost circulation and help with the absorption of medication
Muscle tension is common in seniors with Parkinson’s as soft tissues are affected by the disease. One way to relieve this tension is with massage therapy. According to a study published by WIN Health Solutions, massage therapy helps those with Parkinson’s by:
• Boosting self-confidence
• Enhancing walking abilities
• Helping them perform daily living activities
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 Victoria elder 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 (250) 592-4881 to learn about the high quality of our Parkinson’s home care.