Friday, June 24, 2011

5 tips - caring for Seniors with Parkinson's

5 Tips - Caring for Seniors with Parkinson's

Advice for families and caregivers

Parkinson's Disease is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 50-60. Even though the disease normally hits prior to senior age, many of the resources available for general aging can be helpful for seniors dealing with Parkinson's. While there's currently no cure, there are steps you can take to help minimize the symptoms from interrupting their day-to-day lives.

Tip 1: Dealing with Sleep Disturbances

Nighttime tremors associated with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can keep many seniors with Parkinson's from getting a good night's rest. Medication can also cause disruptions and has been known to cause intense dreams or nightmares that interfere with sleeping. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol prior to bedtime can help, as well as decreasing fluid intake so that it's not necessary to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Exercising and being most active in the morning and earlier in the day will also help to promote better sleep throughout the night.

Tip 2: Helping with the Weight of Depression

Around 40% of Parkinson's Disease patients will experience depression after being diagnosed. To help lift this, having a caregiver or home companion encourage exercise and outside activities can help shift the focus from the disease to more positive topics. Concentrating on the fact that by staying active and being generally healthy, some side effects of Parkinson's can be minimized.

Tip 3: Reducing Hand and Arm Tremors

For starters, limiting caffeine intake can have an effect on reducing tremors. But to help specifically with hand and arm tremors, there's a few tricks for helping stabilize the muscle spasms so that arm movements stay more fluid. Pressing the elbow into the body, as well as using an arm or wrist brace that covers the joints can make a major impact in hand stabilization.

Tip 4: Helping Restore Balance and Coordination

Many Parkinson's patients will begin to experience impaired balance and coordination, which can cause instability in standing and create a greater risk of falling. Installing handrails throughout a home can be beneficial to regaining balance quickly. Also, making sure that chairs and stools all have backs will help maintain balance when sitting. Having a caregiver assist seniors by setting goals while walking, such as lifting feet higher or focusing on an end destination, can help significantly minimize falls.

Tip 5: Ease the Soreness of Stiff Limbs

Aerobic exercise has been able to help alleviate limb stiffness in some Parkinson's sufferers. Additionally, doing resistance training and stretching can also help slow the progression of stiff joints, weakness and lack of mobility that the disease can cause.

Even though Parkinson's undoubtedly creates a barrier to normal everyday activities, there are ways to make life and miscellaneous daily tasks easier. Remember that staying active and healthy are always great ways to combat the negative side effects, both physically and emotionally, of this condition.

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