7 Things Older Adults Should Do After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

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A Parkinson’s diagnosis can be a life changing experience for aging adults and their families. It’s normal for seniors to feel overwhelmed at first, but if they take some time to breathe, learn about the disease, take care of themselves, and let their loved ones take care of them when necessary, Parkinson’s is manageable.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Mississauga families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Encourage your senior loved one to do these 7 things after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

1. Don’t Panic 

When diagnosed with Parkinson’s, panicking is one of the worst things your loved one can do. It’s okay to get upset, have a good cry, or even get angry. Once your loved one gets these emotions out, encourage him or her to move on. If your loved one dwells on it, he or she may have a harder time making the condition manageable. Meditation, yoga, exercise, writing, and painting are great ways to turn negative emotions into something constructive. 

2. Get Educated

The more seniors know about a disease, the better equipped they are to manage it. Encourage your loved one to research online, read books, and set up appointments with doctors and other experts, or reach out to other people with the disease. Find a support group, either online or in person, where your loved one can talk to people with real-life experience. 

3. Find a Good Doctor

Your loved one might need a good doctor to develop a lasting relationship with. It may be the doctor who diagnosed him or her, or your loved one may feel like setting up an appointment with a second or third doctor to get more opinions. Make sure the person your loved one chooses is knowledgeable about the disease and is patient and willing to answer questions.

4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

If your loved one smokes, drinks alcohol excessively, doesn’t exercise, and enjoys eating junk food, now is the time to make some changes. Encourage your loved one to get rid of the cigarettes and cut down to one drink a day or none at all. Research has shown exercise can help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s, so help your loved one come up with an activity plan. Dancing, walking outdoors, aerobics, tennis, golf, and yoga are all excellent choices because they require the brain and body to work in sync with each other. Be sure to add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your loved one’s diet, and encourage him or her to eat more fiber to ease some of the symptoms.

5. Talk to Family and Friends

Whether it’s a spouse, child, or a close friend, seniors with Parkinson’s need someone to talk to. Communication can benefit your loved one and those who care about him or her. Let your loved one know you want him or her to stay independent for as long as possible, but that he or she may need some help from time to time. 

For families living in Mississauga, ON, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

6. Keep Track of Changes in the Body

Your loved one’s body and state of mind are going to change after the diagnosis, and it’s important to take note of any new symptoms that develop. Consider keeping a journal or asking a trusted friend or relative to do so. Make sure to indicate whether the new symptoms occurred after taking a new medication. 

7. Live Life

A Parkinson’s diagnosis shouldn’t take over your loved one’s entire life. Encourage him or her to keep socializing, working, focusing on hobbies, spending time with the grandchildren, and volunteering.

Aging in place can be challenging when living with Parkinson’s disease. Luckily, seniors can rely on dedicated caregivers who are trained in specialized Parkinson’s care. Mississauga, ON, families can benefit from Parkinson’s care as well. If you need a break from caring for your elderly loved one, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance can provide respite for you while helping your loved one manage important everyday tasks. To learn about our high-quality Parkinson’s care plans, call us at (905) 337-1200 today.