Home Safety Considerations For Parkinsons Disease
Mobility problems are common symptoms of Parkinsons disease, therefore maximizing the safety and accessibility of a patients home is a top priority. Since seniors with PD often use mobility aids like canes, walkers, rollators or wheelchairs, wide, clear pathways in rooms and hallways are important. The following home elements can make it difficult for a person with limited mobility to get around their home safely.
Advice For Nursing Care
People with Parkinsons have specific needs and care requirements. Most important is that they receive their medication on time, every time. Nurses should also be aware of the on/off nature of the condition.
Some patients say they are on when their drugs are working and symptoms are mostly under control. If they go off, their symptoms are not under control and it becomes harder for them to move some may stop moving altogether. Patients might change from on to off very quickly, like a switch.
The way in which Parkinsons affects patients can vary from hour to hour and day to day, and it also varies widely between individual patients. The amount of help and support they need also varies. Nurses should therefore listen to patients and their families about how the condition affects them.
It is important to ensure that patients have access to a varied and balanced diet nurses should take account of any swallowing or movement problems that could lead to malnutrition. It is also important to remember to give patients time to answer when talking to them. It may take them time to respond, but this does not mean they are not listening or do not understand.
Financial Support For Carers
Everyones financial situation is different. If you are a carer of a person with Parkinsons and have concerns about money, you may be entitled to claim Government benefits that could reduce the financial stress. To determine if you are eligible for Government payments, contact Centrelink on 132 717 or visit their website.
Some of the Government benefits available to carers are:
- Carer Payment Provides financial support to people who are unable to work in substantial paid employment because they provide full time daily care to someone with a severe disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged.
- Carer AllowanceA supplementary payment for parents or carers providing additional daily care to an adult or dependent child with a disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged. Carer Allowance is free of the income and assets test, is not taxable and can be paid in addition to wages, Carer Payment or any other Centrelink payment.
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Foster A Good Relationship
Lastly, maintaining your relationship and communication with the person with Parkinsonâs can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of caregiving. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, the roles change and the person with Parkinsonâs may go from being an independent head of the household to a very dependent person requiring a significant level of care. However, research shows that despite high levels of strain, caregivers with good quality relationships have reduced depression and better physical health. Remember, as a caregiver your service to your loved one is beyond measure in terms of love, depth of care, and concern.
What To Expect When A Loved One Has Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes a gradual loss of muscle control. Although the disorder generally occurs in elderly people, it is occasionally seen in younger adults. In fact, roughly 5-to-10% of all Parkinsons disease cases occur before the age of 50.
Parkinsons disease usually evolves in five distinct stages:
It is important to remember that Parkinsons disease affects each patient differently. While some may remain in Stage 1 for years, others advance quickly. Some people might even skip one more stage of disease progression entirely.
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease, but prescription medications, deep brain stimulation, and certain therapies will usually alleviate or lessen symptoms. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help people with Parkinsons disease improve muscle strength and balance.
While Parkinsons disease itself is not fatal, its debilitating effects do increase the potential for deadly complications. Because swallowing issues may cause aspiration of food or liquids into their lungs, pneumonia is the most common cause of death among people with Parkinsons disease. Worsening mobility and balance problems also increase their risk for fatal falls.
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New Diagnostic Standards For Parkinsons
Until recently, the gold-standard checklist for diagnosis came from the U.K.s Parkinsons Disease Society Brain Bank. It was a checklist that doctors followed to determine if the symptoms they saw fit the disease. But thats now considered outdated. Recently, new criteria from the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society have come into use. This list reflects the most current understanding of the condition. It allows doctors to reach a more accurate diagnosis so patients can begin treatment at earlier stages.
What Do Parkinsons Patients Need
Parkinsons disease patients need compassion, loving care, kindness, and a friendly smile. In other words, they need human interaction and emotional support to help them through sometimes difficult times. Never underestimate the healing value of a kind word, encouragement, and the support of peers, family, and medical professionals.
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Add Medication For A Winning Combo
Diet and exercise are important for managing PD, but dont forget about medications. Take them regularly and exactly as your doctor prescribes.
If you tend to forget your medication, set an alarm to remind you. You can also use a pillbox thats labeled with days and times of day. Take your meds on a set schedule, dont skip doses and dont double dose, says Dr. Gostkowski. When youre diligent about taking your medications and following a healthy lifestyle, youll feel your best.
Bump Up Your Fiber Intake
A high-fiber diet is a proven way to avoid constipation, a common problem for people with PD.
Parkinsons can slow down the intestines and cause constipation, Dr. Gostkowski says. Fiber helps keep things moving. There are plenty of high-fiber foods out there, so choose your favorites. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should get 38 grams.
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What Doctors Look For When Diagnosing Parkinsons
Certain physical signs and symptoms noticed by the patient or his or her loved ones are usually what prompt a person to see the doctor. These are the symptoms most often noticed by patients or their families:
Shaking or tremor: Called resting tremor, a trembling of a hand or foot that happens when the patient is at rest and typically stops when he or she is active or moving
Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement in the limbs, face, walking or overall body
Rigidity: Stiffness in the arms, legs or trunk
Posture instability: Trouble with balance and possible falls
Once the patient is at the doctors office, the physician:
Takes a medical history and does a physical examination.
Asks about current and past medications. Some medications may cause symptoms that mimic Parkinsons disease.
Performs a neurological examination, testing agility, muscle tone, gait and balance.
Maintaining Independence In Daily Tasks
In addition to impaired mobility, Parkinsons can make seemingly simple tasks like brushing teeth and eating very difficult. But staying as independent as possible is important for your older adults self-esteem and well-being.
Assistive devices like dressing aids, shower chairs, and reacher grabbers can allow older adults to accomplish more tasks on their own. Plus, there are products that are designed specifically for Parkinsons that counteract symptoms like tremors and contracture. For example, spoons for people with Parkinsons are specially designed to make feeding oneself easier and less messy.
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Managing Parkinsons Freezing Episodes
As Parkinsons worsens over time, freezing episodes may happen. This is where your older adult will literally stop everything they are doing and be unable to move.
For example, they could be walking through a room, getting to a doorway, and then not be able to move forward through it. Freezing episodes are confusing and dangerous because they can lead to falls.
These tips and tricks help manage freezing episodes:
- Asking your older adult to shift weight from one leg to the other
- Putting on music, singing, or counting to help your loved one keep moving
- Placing tape on the floor at doorways your loved one commonly uses (a line made with tape, drawn with pencil, etc. can help the brain cue the legs to walk over something when they freeze
- Encouraging them to try a different type movement to get the body started, like raising a hand or turning their head
Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease
Currently, Parkinsons disease has no cure. However, treatments are extremely helpful in managing its signs and symptoms.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s
The main motor symptoms of Parkinsons are:
- slowness of movement
- problems with balance.
However, the condition doesnt only affect movement. People living with the condition can experience a range of non-motor symptoms that can often have a greater impact on their lives than movement difficulties.
Non-motor symptoms include:
- urinary urgency, frequency
These non-motor symptoms are present at all stages of the condition but they can become more severe in the later stages of Parkinsons and have a major impact on quality of life.
Parkinsons gets worse over time and it can be difficult to predict how quickly the condition will progress. For most people, it can take years for the condition to progress to a point where it can cause major problems. For others, Parkinsons may progress more quickly.
How Do I Care For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that demands proper care for the patient. Since it adversely affects the motor abilities of the patient, a caregiver is extremely important who can take care of the patient. The major aim of the caregiver should involve-
Quality of Life: The caregiver plays an important role in maintaining the quality of life of the patient with Parkinsons disease.
Appointments: The caregiver should be responsible for keeping a track of all the appointments with the doctor.
Medicines: The caregiver has to make a note of all the medications prescribed to the patient by the doctor and give him those medicines from time to time.
Exercise: The caregiver should be aware of the general health of the patient. The patient should have a balanced and healthy diet and exercise regularly. This should be checked by the person who takes care of the patient.
Knowledge: The caregiver should make attempts to educate himself about the signs and symptoms of the Parkinsons disease along with the treatment protocol and the progression of the disease.
Understanding: The love and care offered to the patient by the caregiver can help him deal better with the mental turmoil accompanying the Parkinsons disease.
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Medication And Health Care Questions
- What is the residence policy regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, and medication record-keeping?
- Is self-administration of medication allowed?
- Who coordinates visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other specialist if needed?
- Does a doctor or nurse visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
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Signs And Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
- Tremor. The presence of tremors is one of the triad symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Tremors usually start in the limbs, most commonly in the hands and fingers. They are likely to occur when the body is at rest and relaxed. Pill-rolling tremors are common in Parkinsons disease patients. It is characterized by the rubbing of thumb and forefinger back and forth.
- Bradykinesia. One other main symptom of PD is slow movements or bradykinesia. Individuals with PD display a distinctive slow and shuffling gait. Slowness in movements often make it more difficult for people with PD to complete activities of daily living.
- Rigidity . Muscle stiffness is also a common sign of PD. It may occur in any part of the body and may lead to dystonia or uncontrolled painful muscle cramps.
- Impaired posture and balance. Most people with PD often have a stooped posture.
- Loss of automatic movements. Unconscious movements such as blinking, smiling, and swinging of hands when walking may be reduced in people with Parkinsons disease.
- Anosmia. Loss of the sense of smell may occur even years before the diagnosis of PD.
- Speech changes. Changes in speech may also be noted in people with PD. Their speech may become soft, fast, slur, and their tone may become monotonous.
What Are The Benefits Of Parkinsons Care
Parkinsons home care can provide the support your loved one needs to continue living safely and independently in their own home. Parkinsons causes progressivedamage to the brain, which leads to increasing effects on mobility, motor skills, mental function and emotional wellbeing. For people who dont want to move into acare home, specialist carers can provide regular drop-in support or live-in care Parkinson’s care and supervision twenty-four hours a day.
Parkinsons care benefits include mobility support – Body movements become slower in people with Parkinsons and may be less coordinated. This affects mobility, with individuals taking small, slow steps and shuffling when they walk. Carers can support mobility and ensure walking aides are close at hand.
People with Parkinsons can have an impaired ability to balance, making them prone to falls and injuries. Parkinsons carers can support safe mobilisation and reduce the risk of falls.
Support with hygiene and personal care
Tremor can make it difficult to perform fine movements, making self-care a challenge. Parkinsons carers will providesensitive, discreet support when needed, to maintain hygiene and grooming.
Supervision of medication
Being in comfortable, familiar surroundings can improve symptoms and function in people with Parkinsons and Parkinsons dementia.
Home help and personal assistance
Carers can lend a hand with chores to make life a little bit easier.
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Trained Experts In Parkinsons Disease Care
We understand the rough days when you shuffle more and cant stop the shaking. Our in-home care professionals know just when to nudge you through exercises, when to cook some meals ahead, or when to help you relax and talk through how youre really feeling about the limitations on your body. We notice the changes in posture and facial expression and help you make comfortable adjustments to maintain coordination and balance.
Specialist Support At Home For Those Living With Parkinsons
Parkinsons is a life-changing condition. It progressively impacts part of the brain, and leads to a number of symptoms that are difficult to manage, including tremors, slow movement, memory problems, anosmia and stiff muscles.
However, being diagnosed with Parkinsons doesnt mark the end of an individuals life. And it certainly doesnt mean that you or your loved one should leave home and move into a residential care home not when we offer home-based nursing led Parkinsons care. Whether a few hours a week to help during the early or maintenance phase of the condition or through to to longer periods of care at the advanced, complex or palliative stages of Parkinsons we can help.
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Tips To Cope And Care For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
It can be quite a challenge to care for someone with Parkinsons disease. While there is no cure for this disease, various rehab therapies and treatments can reduce symptoms. Loving care and expert advice from a medical professional can greatly improve outcomes and allow a decent quality of life.
Lets take a closer look at this disease to better understand how it progresses and what interventions are most effective.
When Psychosis Progresses
Roberts psychosis worsened, almost becoming impossible to manage, says Kathie, who works at home as a telenurse and nurse educator while caring for her husband. We couldnt go out to eat without him picking up rocks, she recalls. Hed interrupt other diners and try to give them his rocks, telling them they were valuable. At home, he would go through garbage cans looking for precious metals. The smell and the messes were something terrible.
Roberts behavior took its toll on her in many ways. “Id worry that he would fall in the garage, and either the kids or I would find him dead,” she says. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a cause of death among people with Parkinsons is an injury sustained during a fall.
I couldnt get any sleep, Kathie goes on, because he would get out of bed all night long in his quest to dig in the yard or wash the garbage to find treasures.
Over the years, Kathie took Robert to a number of specialists who suggested different treatments, none of which really helped his delusions, she says. Not wanting to put him in a nursing home, she was feeling desperate and despondent.
It was wreaking havoc in my life, Kathie says. I began to worry about who would take care of our kids when I died.
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