6 Ways Parkinson’s Affects Seniors Physically

By , 9:00 am on

Even though Parkinson’s can have a huge impact on physical health and motor skills, treatments for this disease are more effective than ever. With some professional assistance and a solid treatment plan, your senior loved one can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life for many years to come. Here are six of the physical impacts Parkinson’s disease can have on an individual and a few steps you can take to address those issues. 

1. Improper Posture

There are a few different reasons many seniors with Parkinson’s have difficulty with posture. This disease can damage the area of the brain responsible for involuntary movements, which could eventually result in tight back muscles that never become unclenched. Over time, bad posture can result in chronic pain, poor breathing, and reduced lung capacity. At least a few times a day, seniors with Parkinson’s should stand in front of a mirror to check their posture. They should also use supportive devices such as lumbar pads and thick pillows. 

2. Balance Issues

Slip-and-fall accidents are incredibly common among seniors with Parkinson’s, and those mishaps often result in permanent injuries. If your loved one has an impaired gait or seems to be having balance difficulties, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. Meeting with a therapist a few days a week is one of the most effective ways to handle balance and gait issues. 

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 everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable senior 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. Tremors

Most people associate Parkinson’s disease with tremors, and almost every senior with Parkinson’s is going to develop this symptom at some point. In the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, seniors often notice relatively minor tremors, but those involuntary movements could get worse later on. Strengthening the hands and arms might help with the tremors, but you should also speak with your loved one’s doctor about prescription medications and deep brain stimulation. 

4. Difficulty Chewing and Swallowing

In addition to losing their sense of taste, many seniors with Parkinson’s also find it difficult to chew. When these issues aren’t addressed, your loved one could eventually lose an unhealthy amount of weight or develop a nutritional deficiency. Soft foods like soups and smoothies are perfect for seniors with Parkinson’s, but you might want to consider adding some supplements to your loved one’s diet as well. 

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. Green Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

5. Speech Changes

Many of the muscles used when chewing and swallowing also help with speech, and speech impairments are very common among those who have Parkinson’s disease. Following a Parkinson’s diagnosis, seniors should immediately seek out a speech pathologist, who can come up with a long-term therapy plan that enhances verbal skills by strengthening the surrounding muscles.

6. Stiffness

Another common symptom of Parkinson’s is muscle rigidity, and that stiffness can eventually result in chronic pain and other serious issues. Working out multiple times a week and stretching every day are two of the best ways to combat muscle stiffness. Some seniors also benefit from massage therapy and acupuncture, both of which can trigger the production of important chemicals that relax the muscles.

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 Green Valley at-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. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at 520-625-2050 today.