For those with early-onset Parkinson’s, it’s possible to find medications that can halt the disease’s progression for a while. This may not be an option for older adults, but there are still plenty of great treatments for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some of the many ways you can halt Parkinson’s symptoms or make them less severe for an older loved one.
Levodopa is one of the most commonly used medications for Parkinson’s disease. This drug converts into dopamine, so it replaces the chemicals the brain is missing. Levodopa is typically combined with carbidopa to ensure as much dopamine as possible stays in the brain. It’s very effective in the early stages, but some find the benefits of levodopa gradually wear off over the years.
2. Dopamine Agonists
This type of medication doesn’t directly increase dopamine levels in the brain. Instead, it mimics the way dopamine acts. There are all sorts of dopamine agonists—including ropinirole, apomorphine, pramipexole, and rotigotine—that can be taken as a pill, patch, or injection. They can be quite helpful for those who no longer respond to levodopa, but they can also cause some issues, such as sleepiness and compulsive eating.
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.
Therapy helps people with Parkinson’s find ways to perform daily activities even when their symptoms are severe. Therapeutic techniques such as humming while walking can be surprisingly effective at reducing symptoms such as freezing up, and a therapist will work with your loved one to find the best techniques for his or her situation. Seniors can also benefit from therapy that strengthens muscles and increases flexibility to compensate for stiffness.
4. COMT and MAO-B Inhibitors
COMT and MAO-B inhibitors such as entacapone and selegiline are used alongside levodopa. They stop dopamine from breaking down so it can last longer in the brain. Seniors often use these drugs to reduce the “on again, off again” effects of levodopa. Though COMT inhibitors help a lot with tremors and rigidity, their use can result in an increased risk of dyskinesia.
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. Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes cannot entirely cure Parkinson’s disease, but they can make a huge difference. A healthy diet that’s high in fiber and liquids can prevent the constipation that often occurs due to poor bowel motility. Seniors with Parkinson’s disease can also benefit greatly from exercises, such as walking and swimming, that keep them from losing their balance as easily.
6. Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is a type of surgery that directly targets the brain to reduce symptoms. It involves implanting electrodes into the brain that are powered by a small implant in the chest. The electrodes then regularly send pulses into the deep tissue of the brain. Deep brain stimulation can be helpful for reducing tremors, rigidity, and dyskinesia without producing the side effects that occur with certain medications.
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 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call 520-625-2050 today.