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Living well with Parkinson’s: an introduction

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Around 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s; equivalent to one in every 500 people.

It’s a neurological condition that restricts movement and mobility, and is associated with a range of other symptoms.

But, with the right care plan in place, you or your loved one can maintain a good quality of life, even as the condition develops. 

Staying active

Staying active is a crucial part of living well with Parkinson’s.

Keeping physically active exercises muscle groups affected by the condition, maximising mobility as time goes on. Learning-based exercises are also a great way of keeping mentally active.

These are some appropriate exercises that include both a physical and cognitive aspect:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Light aerobics/water aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi

Keeping active also means staying socially engaged, and able to continue practising hobbies wherever possible.    

Nutrition

Parkinson’s is associated with secondary effects like weight fluctuations, fatigue, constipation and brittle bones. By managing nutritional intake effectively, you can alleviate some of these symptoms.

You won’t need to buy any specialist health foods. Living well with Parkinson’s is about finding the right nutritional balance.

Here’s an introduction to the nutritional factors that can help people with Parkinson’s:

  • Eat from all food groups (carbohydrates; proteins; dairy products; fruit and vegetables; fats and sugars)
  • Maintain a low fat, sugar and cholesterol diet to minimise risk of weight fluctuation
  • Consume fibre rich foods (fruits and vegetables, beans, pulses, cereals and nuts) and plenty of water to ease symptoms of constipation
  • Moderate their alcohol intake as this can cause problems with balance and react badly with some medications

Parkinson’s and live-in care

Parkinson’s can make the home a more challenging environment. People with the condition may experience tripping episodes, or a muscle ‘freeze’ that can lead to a fall.

It’s also difficult to predict how the condition will manifest itself day-to-day, or in many cases from one hour to the next. This makes it harder for family carers to create a viable care plan.

If you no longer feel able to manage on your own, or if you think specialist support would be beneficial, then a live-in care arrangement can enable you or your loved one to receive expert care while staying in the familiar home environment.  

Condition-specific care

Live-in carers are trained to understand the nature of Parkinson’s and how the condition develops, enabling them to:

  • Recognise when to help your loved one, or give them more time to complete a task independently
  • Recall the disease’s many symptoms, related medications and their side effects to optimise day-to-day care
  • Conduct physical activities in using techniques that minimise the risk to your loved one, and to themselves

Medication management

As Parkinson’s affects people differently, every person with the condition is likely to have a different timetable for taking medications based on their symptoms and lifestyle.

Unlike at a residential care home or in hospital, a live-in care team can build this timetable around individual needs, rather than adhering to a rigid programme of daily medication rounds. 

Adaptable care programmes

Live-in care can also adapt to your loved one’s needs change over time:

  • During the early stages, a live-in carer will support your loved one in carrying out activities independently, and help to keep them socially active
  • During subsequent stages, a live-in carer will recognise changes in their mobility or cognition and adapt the care plan accordingly

Parkinson’s shouldn’t have to define anyone’s future. By learning more about the condition and maintaining independence wherever possible, you or your loved-one can live well with Parkinson’s.

If you would like to find out how The Good Care Group can help support a friend or relative with Parkinson’s, call on our friendly team today

 

 

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