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6 Top Forms of Treatment for Seniors with Parkinson’s

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on October 14, 2019

Parkinson’s disease (PD) isn’t curable at the moment. However, there are treatments that can make tremors, slowed movement, and other common symptoms associated with this condition less disruptive to daily life. Let’s take a closer look at six of the best ways to treat, or at least manage, Parkinson’s disease.

1. Medication

The most common type of Parkinson’s disease is idiopathic Parkinson’s, which means the cause is unknown. What’s also referred to as “classic Parkinson’s” often responds well to medications that minimize issues with movement and tremors. Medications typically prescribed for those with PD include:

• Levodopa (a dopamine replacement agent) or a combination of Levodopa and carbidopa (Lodosyn)
• Dopamine agonists that mimic the effects of dopamine
• MAO-B inhibitors that prevent the breakdown of dopamine
• Anticholinergics to control tremors

2. Exercise

Exercise is important for people of all ages. It’s especially essential for seniors with Parkinson’s, since the right type of physical stimulation keeps muscles, joints, and bones strong and supportive. Certain types of exercise can also maintain or increase flexibility, range of motion, and posture.

However, since PD can affect gait and balance as it progresses, exercise routines usually have to be modified over time. Fortunately, there are many forms of exercise that can safely and effectively benefit aging adults with Parkinson’s. Some of these include:

• Casual walking
• Water-based exercises
• Indoor cycling or elliptical machine use
• Gentle stretching
• Marching while swinging the arms
• Low-impact aerobics

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with the everyday tasks of life, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable at-home care. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

3. Nutrition

There’s no specific “Parkinson’s diet,” but eating healthy can certainly provide benefits for seniors with PD. Older adults may benefit from low-fat dairy products, leafy green veggies, fatty fish, egg yolks, and other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to keep their bones and joints strong and reduce the risk of fractures if they fall. Generally, it’s best to aim for a well-balanced diet that includes:

  • Lean proteins
  • Fish, nuts, seeds, and other foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Beneficial starches like whole-grain or brown breads, rice and grains, and veggies such as squash, peas, and yams
  • Healthy snacks

4. Occupational Therapy

Older adults with Parkinson’s sometimes have difficulty with everyday tasks, such as bathing, cooking, dressing, eating, and grooming. An occupational therapist can work with a senior with Parkinson’s to find appropriate and safe ways to perform daily tasks.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Tucson seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Supportive Therapies

Individuals with Parkinson’s sometimes experience pain, general fatigue, increased anxiety, and depression. Symptoms of this nature may respond well to therapies that promote relaxation, increase circulation, and ease muscle tension. These supportive therapies may include:

• Yoga or tai chi
• Massage therapy
• Posture training (Alexander technique)
• Meditation or deep breathing

6. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

If medication isn’t reducing involuntary movements, deep brain stimulation may be recommended. DBS is a two-part procedure that involves the insertion of electrodes into the brain and a generator into the upper chest that delivers electrical impulses to the brain. DBS does present some risks, and it doesn’t work for all types of PD, nor will it stop the progression of the disease.

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Tucson in-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (520) 276-6555 today.