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How Seniors with Parkinson’s Can Boost Longevity

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Approximately one million adults in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease. The stiffness, tremors, loss of coordination, and other symptoms associated with the disorder make life challenging. However, the type and severity of symptoms vary among seniors. Unlike Alzheimer’s and other disorders, Parkinson’s isn’t considered fatal. Results of a study performed by researchers from the Mayo Clinic indicate that seniors diagnosed with Parkinson’s may live with the disease for 20 years or more.

The Mayo Clinic Study

Researchers evaluated the medical records of 461 people living with disorders categorized as synucleinopathies, which include Parkinson’s. They compared these medical histories with those of people of similar age and sex who weren’t afflicted with neurological disorders. The team learned that the life span of the subjects was decreased on average by one year. However, if subjects developed Lewy body dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment, life span decreased more. The study and results were published in the May 15th, 2017, issue of JAMA Neurology.

The advances made in managing Parkinson’s enable seniors to live longer. However, seniors must work closely with their healthcare teams to effectively manage symptoms and explore treatment options. There are several ways seniors with Parkinson’s can increase their longevity.

Follow a Healthy Diet

To maintain optimal overall health, seniors with Parkinson’s should consider sticking to a diet consisting of lean meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables, all of which are recommended in the Mediterranean diet regimen. The antioxidants found in this diet reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which encourages premature cell aging and death. Dr. John E. Duda, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, advises seniors to take levodopa between meals. Otherwise, protein digestion and metabolism interfere with absorption of the medication. Duda also suggests saving protein intake for the last meal of the day, avoiding large meals, and drinking up to 64 ounces of fluid each day. Seniors should also get adequate amounts of vitamin D, as many are commonly deficient in this vitamin.

Difficulty swallowing and other eating issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for aging adults increasingly challenging. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Plantation, FL, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Exercising, as tolerated, maintains musculoskeletal strength. Physical activity also increases flexibility and balance while preventing osteoporosis. Seniors with Parkinson’s should choose a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises, which may include cycling, dancing, swimming, and resistance training. They should vary the type of exercise to encourage long-term commitment, warm up before beginning the activity, and allow the body a chance to cool down afterward. 

In-home caregivers can be a wonderful source of support for seniors with Parkinson’s who need help exercising safely. Families looking for top-rated Plantation home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Make Safety Modifications in the Home

The many assistive devices available to seniors reduce the likelihood of falls and enhance mobility, if needed. Consider installing grab bars in your loved one’s bathroom. Eliminate throw rugs unless they can be secured to the floor to prevent slipping. Encourage your loved one to use a cane, walker, or motorized scooter to maintain independence.

Stay Social

Seniors with Parkinson’s need to keep in touch with family members and friends. Having active social lives can help them maintain emotional and cognitive health. Encourage your loved one to attend community functions, take a class, plan get-togethers or outings on a regular basis, and stay connected via mobile devices or a personal computer.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Plantation Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (954) 533-2410.

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