Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system, especially those parts of the brain that regulate muscle movement. The disease is characterized by tremors, difficulty with movement, and changes in posture. It most commonly affects people over the age of 50, but it can also affect younger people.
Parkinson’s can make life difficult for seniors who have it, but many things can be done to help them live a normal life. Here are some tips:
Help them stay active
Seniors with Parkinson’s disease should stay active to keep their muscles strong and improve mobility. According to the Parkinson Foundation, regular exercise can help slow down the progression of symptoms. Some exercises useful for seniors with Parkinson’s disease are swimming, aqua aerobics, and walking. If your loved one cannot do some of the more strenuous exercises on their own, you can work with a physical therapist to develop a customized exercise regimen.
Encourage them to eat healthy foods
Parkinson’s disease can make it difficult for seniors to eat healthy foods. However, they need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Make sure they are eating enough protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Help them get enough vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins and minerals that are important for people with Parkinson’s disease include vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and copper. Some studies have found that people with low levels of vitamin D had higher rates of Parkinson’s disease than those with normal levels of vitamin D. To ensure your loved one is getting enough calcium and vitamin D, encourage them to eat lots of dairy.
Encourage them to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which can help protect the brain from damage. Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, oranges, spinach, kale, and broccoli. Fresh produce also has fiber which will prevent constipation, a common side effect of Parkinson’s disease.
Help them manage their medication
There are several treatments available for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The most common treatment is medication. Many medications can be used to treat Parkinson’s, and a doctor will work with the patient to find the best one for them.
Some patients may need to hire assistance to monitor their health at home and help administer their medication. Seniors with Parkinson’s disease need to take their medications as prescribed to control their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Other treatments include surgery and deep brain stimulation, but these are only recommended for patients who are not responding well to medication. Lifestyle changes can also help improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Some changes that may help include quitting drinking and limiting caffeine intake.
Help them reduce stress
People with Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety. There are a number of reasons why patients with Parkinson’s disease experience anxiety and depression. Some of the most common reasons include:
- The fear of losing control over their body and becoming paralyzed
- The fear of not being able to take care of themselves or their loved ones
- The stress of having to live with a chronic and progressive illness
- The frustration of not being able to do the things they used to do
- The social isolation that can occur as a result of the disease
Stress can make their symptoms worse, which can make life more difficult for them. Seniors with Parkinson’s disease should try to reduce their stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. There are a number of other ways to manage stress, including listening to music, going for walks, and reading books.
Help them stay positive
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition, which means it is with them for life. They will have good days and bad days. Seniors with Parkinson’s disease must stay positive to cope with their symptoms. They can do this by participating in activities they enjoy, such as reading, playing games, watching television, and spending time with friends and family.
Seniors with Parkinson’s disease may have their symptoms worsen as they get older, but this doesn’t mean that their quality of life has to suffer. You can do many things to help your loved one with this disease live a normal life. By following these tips, you can help them live happily and healthily despite having Parkinson’s disease.