Having your senior relative diagnosed with a chronic condition like Parkinson’s is never an easy thing to deal with.

We know that coming to terms with the condition and knowing how to support your loved one can be overwhelming and we at Visiting Angels understand how it feels and have come up with a few ways on how to help your loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

1. Educate Yourself on Parkinson’s Disease

One of the most important part of caring for your senior relative is educating yourself on the condition first.

Did you know that Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra which leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain? Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which means that this disease will affect the nerve cells in the brain.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are mild at first but usually develop with time but the severity of these symptoms is different for each individual. The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Tremor – which usually begins in the and is more likely to occur when the limbs are relaxed or resting.
  • Slowness of movement – physical movements are slower than usual which makes everyday tasks more difficult.
  • Muscle stiffness – stiffness and tension in the muscles which can ultimately make it difficult to move around and it can result in painful muscle cramps.

However, there are many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and your senior relative’s experience may include some or all of the symptoms as it all depends on how long they’ve been living with the condition.

Click here to read the complete symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

2. Understanding the emotional needs of your family relative:

Understanding and remembering that each individual living with Parkinson’s disease is different and they can still be the same person you know and love after the initial diagnosis. It all depends from individual to individual, sometimes, all your loved one may need is a day of doing something they enjoy with you.

You also may need to consider how these symptoms affect your family member and you may need to accommodate their symptoms and their needs together to help them with their daily lifestyle around the house. It could be noticing things like your senior relative is having difficulty with moving around and you’ve noticed that they might benefit from daily living aids such as a grab rail, a shower seat or a walking aid to support them with personal care and making sure that they are still independent.

3. Gentle Exercise:

In order to stay mobile and maintain a healthy lifestyle, regular and gentle exercise is always beneficial. There are many activities that your senior relative could still do, which will help them in many ways such as gentle exercise could help elevate your senior relative’s mood.

Here are a few links to a few exercises that your senior relative can do:

Parkinson’s Exercise: click here to watch

Live gentle exercise class for Parkinson’s: click here to watch 

7 Helpful hand exercises for Parkinsons’s: click here to watch

4. Find a support group for your senior relative:

Sometimes, finding a support group for your senior relative could be the best option as it would be beneficial for them to find individuals who are also dealing with Parkinson’s Disease. Your senior relative could have someone to share their experiences with which will help them feel less lonely.

Here are links to support groups:

  • Parkinson’s UK support groups: click here
  • Parkinson’s Community Facebook support group: click here

5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with limited mobility:

If you are in your later life and have limited mobility, this does not mean that you cannot eat well and exercise to maintain overall mental and physical health. Whatever your circumstances may be, you can make always small diet changes, do gentle daily exercises and practice brain stimulation exercises to make your life with limited mobility easier.

Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease should avoid certain food:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, and low fat milk
  • Food high in cholesterol and saturated fat

Foods that your senior relative should eat on a regular basis which will ultimately improve their mobility and will help them cope well with Parkinson’s Disease:

  • Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whole grains

Did you know that our caregivers are fully trained to be able to support you at home if your family member has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease?

At Visiting Angels, we take care of every single detail in their lives. From shopping to emotional support to assistance with medication or with mobility, our trained caregivers are there to help.

If needing care and support does become a topic of the conversation and if you are unsure of the kind of care you or your next of kin need, call us today to find out how we can support your senior relative live better with Parkinson’s Disease at home.