Although caring for an aging loved one with Parkinson’s can be a rewarding experience, the progressive nature of the disease is often difficult and emotional for family caregivers to watch. To ensure the highest level of quality care, it is important that those who care for seniors with Parkinson’s are prepared for the symptoms of the disease, its various stages, and understand how professional assistance and support can help in reducing the burden of care.
Common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, stiff muscles and weakness, each creating a variety of challenges. Family caregivers need to be aware of the physical difficulties that may arise as seniors become frustrated when activities of daily living become difficult to complete.
- Walking – As your elderly loved one finds it more difficult to walk, it is important to be patient, trying your best to never rush them. Offer an arm or shoulder for support, or you can look into assistive devices such as canes or walkers which allow them to maintain their independence for as long as possible as the disease progresses.
- Dressing – Because Parkinson’s affects fine motor skills, dressing, buttoning up shirts or closing the zippers of pants and jackets can become difficult. There are assistive aids that are specifically designed to help seniors with Parkinson’s dress. If they are still unable to use these devices, consider adding Velcro to clothing, making it easier to take on and off. Pants with elastic waistbands are also great for seniors with Parkinson’s.
- Eating – For many, Parkinson’s restricts the throat muscles making it difficult for seniors to eat on their own. There are certain utensils that can be purchased that are curved to help ease the movement from the plate to the mouth. Family caregivers should also focus on the types of food being served. As eating becomes more difficult, serve softer foods that are easy to chew and digest.
In addition to modifying daily activities, it is important to clean rooms of clutter, as walking will become more difficult for your elderly loved one. Make sure doorways are clear of debris, large pieces of furniture are placed against the walls, and any rugs are tacked securely to the floor. This will help enhance safety and reduce the risk for falls as mobility becomes more difficult for your aging loved one.
While adult children often take on many of the challenges in the early stages of the disease, even the most loving and devoted families find it difficult to provide high quality Parkinson’s care. Contact Home Care Assistance, the leading provider of home care in Centennial at (303) 957-3100 and learn how our certified and skilled caregivers can offer specialty assistance 24/7. It is our goal to provide the support and help you need, as well as the care that enables your loved one to maintain their independence for as long as possible, all from the comfort of home.