If a senior you love has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), it can be a relief to know that most symptoms of PD progress slowly. Many can be managed with proper medical intervention.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Movement problems are the signs most of us associate with Parkinson’s. Common symptoms include:
- Tremor in the hands, fingers, forearms, feet, mouth or chin even while resting.
- Dyskinesia, a condition that occurs when the adult is unable to control movements, is also an indicator of PD .
- Difficulty writing or holding objects steady.
- Trouble standing up, sitting down or walking.
There are other warning signs many people aren’t as familiar with such as:
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Speech difficulties
- Problems swallowing
Early symptoms may be treatable with medication and physical therapy.
How Exercise Can Help a Person with Parkinson’s Disease
Getting regular exercise is important for people with Parkinson’s disease, especially in the earliest stages. It helps maintain balance, strength, mobility and flexibility. Each of these helps keep the body limber, while also helping to prevent falls. Water aerobics, Tai Chi and even dance classes are proven to be effective forms of exercise for people with PD.
Adults with Parkinson’s often find that the physical environment, nutritious meals and life enrichment programs offered in a senior living community make it easier to maintain their health and independence longer.
Supporting Independence in a Senior with Parkinson’s Disease
You can help your senior loved one feel more independent by encouraging them to continue to participate in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Allow them to dress, bathe, and take care of themselves as much as is safely possible.
Finally, it is also important for you and other loved ones to educate yourselves about the disease. Learn what to expect at each of the stages of Parkinson’s so you can create a long-range plan for care and support. This means getting to know your local resources, including which outpatient therapy clinics offer aquatic therapy and which assisted living communities have respite programs.