What to Do When Your Elderly Parent is Diagnosed with Parkinson's

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Coping with a Senior’s Parkinson’s Diagnosis

By Lesa Hardiman, 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease is a condition without a cure, so thoughtful planning and consideration about how to move forward are necessary. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home Parkinson’s care in Grand Rapids, provides some helpful tips for moving forward with your senior loved one post-diagnosis.

Create an Exercise Plan to Help with Symptoms
While there is no cure, there are ways to reduce certain Parkinson’s symptoms, such as muscle tremors and stiffness. Some of these activities are not only easy to implement, but are also free or inexpensive.

One of the best exercises for seniors with Parkinson’s is walking, ideally with a friend or family member present. Swimming has also been shown to significantly help reduce symptoms. Consult your loved one’s physician before implementing any new exercise routine. The doctor may even have helpful recommendations for local aquatic centers or senior centers offering classes that can accommodate Parkinson’s patients.

Medical experts suggest exercising not just the body, but also the face and jaw. Have your loved one exaggerate mouth movements when reading aloud. He or she may even want to initially try this facing a mirror to be sure the movements are exaggerated enough.

Plan Long-Term Care
There will come a point when your senior loved one will need additional care with daily activities. Don’t wait to figure out the next step. Sit down, discuss options, and have a plan in place for when the time comes. Some seniors will require live-in care while others will just need hourly care in Grand Rapids. Both live-in and hourly caregivers can assist with tasks like cooking, light housework, bathing, and driving.

Seek Out a Support Group
It is also important to find a support network. You may consider attending an event such as the annual Tips For Parkinson’s, where people raise money and awareness about the disease. The National Parkinson Foundation also has many community chapters offering services and programs for those who have Parkinson’s as well as their family members. Some of these chapters even feature guest speakers and offer special information about regional exercise programs especially for those with PD.

A Parkinson’s diagnosis can be overwhelming at first, but there are lots of resources out there that can provide support when it’s most needed. For help planning long-term care, reach out to Grand Rapids senior home care provider Home Care Assistance. Our qualified Care Managers can discuss care options, answer questions, and help you figure out the best solution for your senior loved one’s needs. Call us today at (616) 243-0835 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.