Energy Conserving Tips For Those With Parkinson’s Disease
- Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals. Don’t think you have to do things the same way you’ve always done them.
- Plan your activities ahead of time. Space them out throughout the day. Do not schedule too many things to do in one day. Do the things that take more energy when you are feeling your best.
- If needed, rest before and after activities.
- If you become tired during an activity, stop and rest. You may need to finish it on another day or when you feel less tired.
- Do not plan activities right after a meal. Rest 20-30 minutes after each meal.
- Ask for help. Divide the tasks among family and friends.
- Get a good night’s sleep and elevate your head when sleeping. Be careful not to nap too much during the day or you might not be able to sleep at night.
- If your doctor says it’s ok, you may climb steps. You may need to rest part of the way if you become tired. Try to arrange your activities so you do not have to climb up and down stairs many times during the day.
- Avoid extreme physical activity. Do not push, pull, or lift heavy objects that require you to strain.
Emotional And Social Needs
When you are caring for a person who has Huntingtons disease, you might have an idea of what they value in life and what makes them happy. Try to help them maintain some of the hobbies they enjoy, if thats possible.
For example, if you can facilitate activities like lunch with their friends, going to religious services, visiting museums, or other activities that they consider important, it can help them stay socially connected and optimize their quality of life.
How Long Can A Person Live With Parkinsons Disease
The first thing to understand when seeking an estimate regarding life expectancy for any patient is that the answer is never definite. Each person is different and there is no formula for determining exactly how quickly a chronic disease will progress, how seriously it will affect the body, or whether additional complications may develop along the way.
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Easing Cramps Spasms Or Tremors Due To Parkinson’s
- Massage your legs nightly to relieve leg cramps.
- Take warm baths and use heating pads to help relieve muscle spasms and ease cramps.
- Use mineral ice to relax sore joints and muscles.
- Squeeze a small rubber ball to reduce hand tremors.
- At first indication of a tremor, if possible, try lying on the floor, face down, and relaxing your body for five to 10 minutes.
Getting Dressed With Parkinsons Disease
Dressing someone with Parkinsons disease may become a time- and labor-intensive task as their motor skills and strength wane. In addition, muscle stiffness and painful muscle cramps can make dressing difficult and unpleasant. Whenever possible, replace buttons or zippers with Velcro or magnetized fasteners. Opt for loose-fitting clothing, which is easier and more comfortable to get on and off. An extra-long shoehorn can help with putting on shoes while seated. One of the most important things for a caregiver to remember when providing assistance with dressing is to go slow and set aside plenty of time for this activity of daily living .
How Does It Work
This course will give you access to multimedia resources about how to best support the families and care partners of people living with Parkinsons. Youll be able to read, watch and listen to multimedia and interactive resources that have been chosen by experts, and knowledgeable care partners. Youll then attend an optional webinar to discuss what you have learnt, the challenges and solutions. Youll then take an assessment to demonstrate what youve learnt.
You can log in at any time to this self-directed learning to work through the course and assessment at a pace that suits you. A certificate and digital badge are available to download once you have passed the quiz. The course, webinar and assessment should take a minimum of 3 hours to complete. The 3 hours are split between the initial discussion presentations, the additional learning/resources and the webinar. Each of these takes approximately 1 hour. If you fully engage with all the supporting resources and guidance it will take longer.
Why Should I Seek Parkinsons Help For Caregivers
During the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease, most patients are self-sufficient and don’t have to make any changes to their lifestyle. However, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, meaning the symptoms worsen over time. Sadly, although there are plenty of treatment options to help patients manage the condition, there is no way to cure Parkinson’s disease or prevent the symptoms from progressing.
Most people need full-time care when they reach the final stages of Parkinson’s disease. Your role as a caregiver will likely include washing, clothing and feeding your loved one , helping your loved one in and out of a wheelchair, administering medication doses, keeping track of medications and appointments, communicating with healthcare professionals, reporting symptoms and organizing bill payments and legal documents.
The responsibilities of a Parkinsons caregiver can feel overwhelming at times, and caregiver burnout is common in those who are new to the role. Your mental and physical health is a priority, too. Therefore, its important to seek help from the offset so that you have a support system in place.
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Dont focus on the what-ifs. Theyll defeat you most every time. Do focus on now. It may seem like a tremendous struggle at the moment, but things could be worse. Today may be one of the harder days, but when the clock strikes 12, its a new day. Something wonderful could be ahead, waiting to happen. Your patient may turn into a pumpkin! Dont lose hope.
If you dont have one already, get a sense of humor. Without one, youll often despair. Find something funny in every day. You need to laugh.
Get yourself into a support group locally or online. You may not think you need it, but you do. Especially as the road becomes bumpier. And it will get bumpier. Get some support in place now, as it will make things easier to deal with later.
You need your friends. Dont alienate them by thinking you can do this by yourself. Accept their invitations to help. Accept an hour off, washing the dishes, picking up some groceries, dropping the kids off at practice, or cooking your family a meal. Give yourself some slack and let your friends feel needed, because if they are offering to help before you have even asked, they may see your need better than you can.
Try to think ahead. Your loved ones mental faculties may not be so great anymore. A daily schedule may be useful, with a reminder for doctors appointments, visitors, special occasions, etc.
In Summary Reduce Your Stress
The most important thing we can do for our long-term health, both physical and cognitive, is to reduce the stress in our bodies. All stress physical, emotional and chemical causes inflammation and long-term damage throughout the body.
Whether youre seeking Parkinsons prevention techniques or ways to alleviate symptoms, any of the above dietary and lifestyle practices can have long-term health benefits. Drinking green tea, eating organic, local vegetables, and regular aerobic exercise all significantly reduce the long-term cumulative damage done by stress.
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Complex Parkinson’s Disease And Palliative Care
Complex Parkinson’s disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .
These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you’ll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.
When there’s no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible.
This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.
Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.
You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where you’d like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.
Foods That Are Hard To Chew
Many people with Parkinsons have difficulty with chewing and swallowing foods. A person needs medical help if this is the case. A speech and language therapist may be able to help a person overcome this issue.
However, if a person is finding certain foods hard to chew and swallow, they may wish to avoid these foods.
Such foods include:
- dry, crumbly foods
- tough or chewy meats
If a person does wish to eat chewy meats, they could try using gravy or sauce to soften them and make eating easier.
They could also try chopping meat into smaller pieces or incorporating meat into casseroles, which can make it more tender.
Having a drink with a meal can also make chewing and swallowing easier.
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What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that controls movement, become impaired and/or die. Normally, these nerve cells, or neurons, produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes cells that produce dopamine to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying-down position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinson’s contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia.
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How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards
- Floors: Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its usual place.
- Bathroom: Install grab bars and non-skid tape in the tub or shower. Use non-skid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Lighting: Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well-lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway and staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
- Kitchen: Install non-skid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean spills immediately.
- Stairs: Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it might be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times you must climb the stairs.
- Entrances and doorways: Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to the doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.
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.
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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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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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.
Help For New Parkinsons Caregivers
Being a new caregiver can be tough, but thankfully there is lots of Parkinson’s help for caregivers. Parkinson’s caregiver burnout, depression and stress are common in new caregivers, and many don’t realize the enormity of the task they’ve taken on particularly as Parkinson’s disease progresses. For these reasons, it’s important that you have a support system in place to help you meet the demands of your new role. With this in mind, here’s how and why you should find help for new Parkinson’s caregivers.
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