Bathing And Personal Care Tips
For someone with Parkinsons disease, showering is typically preferred to taking baths because getting in and out of the tub becomes increasingly difficult. However, some people with PD may eventually experience changes in the brain that affect memory, judgement and focus. The Alzheimers Association estimates that 50 to 80 percent of Parkinsons patients experience these and other symptoms of dementia. Individuals living with Parkinsons disease dementia and Lewy body dementia may benefit from some adaptations, assistive devices and caregiving techniques that are used in dementia care.
For example, many dementia patients are confused or even frightened by the sound and feel of running water while showering. If your loved one requires assistance with bathing, be sure to give them time to adapt to the situation and understand what is happening. Gently talk them through the process, ensure they are warm and comfortable, and start by cleansing less sensitive areas of the body, such as the feet and hands, before proceeding to other areas.
Incidence Of Parkinsons Disease
Its estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 in Australia have Parkinsons disease, with the incidence increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinsons disease, with one in five of these people being diagnosed before the age of 50. In Victoria, more than 2,225 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinsons every year.
Be Honest With Each Other
A trap some caregiver-patient partners can get into is one person becoming the nurse while the other is demoted to helpless patient. Thats not productive and can end up being harmful if, for example, the caregiver takes on responsibilities that the person with Parkinsons is perfectly capable of doing.
As a caregiver, try to start an open dialogue for tough conversations with your loved one where you come to an agreement about when the loved one truly needs help.
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Other Tips For Caregivers
Arming yourself with the proper knowledge and preparing for the degenerating symptoms of the condition are the first and most essential steps for a caregiver taking care of a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.
Other tips that can make this challenging prospect a little more manageable include:
- Maintain a healthy diet: Maintaining a healthy diet for your loved ones is as important as ensuring they stay on their medication and treatment plan.
- Ask for help: Don’t feel like you have to take on all of the care alone. If you can afford it, you can hire assistance or reach out to other family and friends to help you with the care.
How Your Support Made This Research Project Possible
You have a lot of research, but sometimes it doesnt translate into peoples lives, says Dash. Thats why she wants to connect people to local programs and resources that can put what we know about Parkinsons disease into practice.
She also believes its critical to evaluate this clinical care network to see whether its feasible and improves quality of life.
Unless we have proved its efficacy, we cannot expect it to be used as a standard of care, she says.
The fellowship is a very important milestone for me because it helps me not only pursue my clinical fellowship and do research, Im going to learn how to do health economic analysis which can help guide policy.
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Support Should Play A Key Role In Your Parkinson’s Care Plan
Trying to “go it alone” when you have Parkinson’s disease is like trying to find your way out of the woods without a compass. It’s a frightening experience. Even in the very early stages of the disease, when your symptoms may be subtle and go unnoticed, having a strong support network will be extremely helpful in getting you the care you need and helping you live life to the fullest.
But before you ask for help, take some time to think about your needsboth emotional and practical. Once you’ve sorted them out, you can go about recruiting close friends, neighbors and relatives who may be willing to help.
Although confiding in others is a good idea, expecting more of people than is reasonable will not be helpful. If you rely on one or two people for both emotional support and practical assistance you do not have a support system. What you have is one person who is going to feel tremendous pressure and suffer burnout.
A better approach: cultivate social ties that will allow you to call upon a variety of trustworthy people for different reasons, at different times. That way, you give yourself more options while lightening the load carried by those closest to you.
Complex Parkinson’s Disease And Palliative Care
Complex Parkinson’s disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .
These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you’ll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.
When there’s no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible.
This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.
Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.
You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where you’d like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.
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Why Is Proper Follow
A person with Parkinsons disease is required to go for regular checkups to his health care professional for the following reasons-
Better Insight: The check-ups help the health care professionals to check if the Parkinsons disease treatment procedure is working or not and also provides an insight about the necessary adjustments to be made.
Detecting New Problems- Regular follow-ups help in detection of new problems with cognition, behavior or mood which might need special treatment.
Discussion: The follow-ups provide a platform for caregivers to discuss the problems with respect to the patients care.
Susceptibility to Dementia: It can also be known if the patient is susceptible to dementia with the help of regular checkups.
Dementia: It may happen so that the person with Parkinsons disease developing dementia may not be able to take care of himself or take decisions about his healthcare. Thus, caregivers should be extra careful and follow the regular follow-ups with the doctor.
Parkinsons disease is progressive in nature and patients so affected by it should be taken care with extreme caution. Efforts must be taken to keep a record of the patients medication and follow-up routines with the doctor.
How Parkinsons Symptoms Affect Daily Life
Symptoms of Parkinsons primarily affect how the body moves, which significantly changes daily life for both you and your older adult.
Symptoms may include:
- Tremors a main symptom of Parkinsons. It often begins in the hands, arms, and legs, often happening when the body is not moving and going away when movement starts.
- Slowed movements a key marker of Parkinsons, it may look like dragging feet on the floor or taking an extremely long time to complete basic tasks.
- Contracture a growing rigidity of muscles and joints that limit range of motion and flexibility. It can even lead to skeletal deformities.
- Balance problems weakness, muscle rigidity, and slowed movements all contribute to balance problems and increased risk of falling.
- Speech changes decrease in voice volume as well as slurred or slowed speech accompanies progression of Parkinsons
Additional non-motor symptoms can also impact daily life. These include excessive sweating, loss of smell, mood/personality changes, constipation, urinary urgency, difficulty writing, trouble sleeping, hallucinations, and even neck pain.
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Be Sure Medications Are Taken
This is crucial: If your loved one is forgetting his or her medicine, he or she may not be functioning as well as possible.
To avoid making mistakes or having to bug or nag your loved one, develop a tool you both agree works, such as a smartphone reminder or a hard-to-miss wall calendar. Being consistent with medication can make a difference in both of your lives and lifestyles.
Hospital And Medical Environments
Electrical medical treatment. In the case that a medical treatment is administered where an electrical current is passed through the body from an external source, first deactivate the IPG by setting all electrodes to off, turning stimulation off, and setting amplitude to zero. Regardless if the device is deactivated, take care to monitor the device for proper function during and after treatment.
High-output ultrasonics and lithotripsy.The use of high-output devices, such as an electrohydraulic lithotriptor, may cause damage to the electronic circuitry of an implanted IPG. If lithotripsy must be used, do not focus the energy near the IPG.
Ultrasonic scanning equipment.The use of ultrasonic scanning equipment may cause mechanical damage to an implanted neurostimulation system if used directly over the implanted system.
External defibrillators.The safety of discharge of an external defibrillator on patients with implanted neurostimulation systems has not been established.
Therapeutic radiation. Therapeutic radiation may damage the electronic circuitry of an implanted neurostimulation system, although no testing has been done and no definite information on radiation effects is available. Sources of therapeutic radiation include therapeutic X rays, cobalt machines, and linear accelerators. If radiation therapy is required, the area over the implanted IPG should be shielded with lead. Damage to the system may not be immediately detectable.
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Strategies And Cues To Help With Movement Problems
When assisting with movement it is important for both of you that it is done safely, taking into account your individual abilities and limitations. Parkinsons is different for every person and symptoms can vary from day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. Strategies that work for one person may not for another, so make a note of what seems to work for both of you. For examples of strategies that may be helpful see Coping Strategies.
As well as assisting the person you care for, using cues or other movement strategies can help protect your back as they minimise the physical effort involved by encouraging the person to be part of the movement.
What Are Lewy Bodies
The affected neurons of people with Parkinsons disease have been found to contain clumped proteins called Lewy bodies, but researchers arent yet sure why Lewy bodies form or what role they play in the disease.
Lewy bodies are clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein . Neurons cant break down these protein clumps, which may lead to the death of these cells.
Some other theories about what causes the death of brain cells in people with Parkinsons disease include free radical damage, inflammation, or toxins.
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Support For People With Parkinsons Disease
Early access to a multidisciplinary support team is important. These teams may include doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, social workers and specialist nurses. Members of the team assess the person with Parkinsons disease and identify potential difficulties and possible solutions.There are a limited number of multidisciplinary teams in Victoria that specialise in Parkinsons disease management. But generalist teams are becoming more aware of how to help people with Parkinsons disease.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Probably one of the most important, and sometimes difficult, things caregivers can do is to take care of themselves. This includes maintaining mental and physical health by making and keeping your own medical and dental appointments. As a caregiver, it is important to keep your job whenever possible as it provides not only financial help and possibly insurance coverage, but also a sense of self-esteem. Join a support group for caregivers if possible. Support groups help you meet people who are going through what you are going though, vent frustrations, give and receive mutual support, and exchange resource information and coping strategies. Whenever possible get your sleep, take breaks, make and keep social activities, and try to keep your sense of humor.
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How Is It Treated And Is There A Cure
For now, Parkinsons disease is not curable, but there are multiple ways to manage its symptoms. The treatments can also vary from person to person, depending on their specific symptoms and how well certain treatments work. Medications are the primary way to treat this condition.
A secondary treatment option is a surgery to implant a device that will deliver a mild electrical current to part of your brain . There are also some experimental options, such as stem cell-based treatments, but their availability often varies, and many aren’t an option for people with Parkinsons disease.
Stay On Top Of Insurance
If you were always the one who handled questions of insurance coverage, great but if not, you may want to familiarize yourself with the terms of your health insurance. Youll need to know details about if and to what extent your plan covers prescriptions, therapy sessions and other unexpected items.
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Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease
There are no diagnostic tests for Parkinsons. X-rays, scans and blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions. For this reason, getting a diagnosis of Parkinsons may take some time.
No two people with Parkinsons disease will have exactly the same symptoms or treatment. Your doctor or neurologist can help you decide which treatments to use.
People can manage their Parkinsons disease symptoms through:
- seeing a Doctor who specialises in Parkinsons
- multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
- deep brain stimulation surgery .
What To Avoid As A Caregiver For Parkinsons Disease
These are some things to avoid while caring for someone with Parkinsons disease:
- Avoid changing their day-to-day schedule: Stick to a daily routine as far as possible, so the person knows what to expect at each time of day. They may struggle to cope with changes to their routine.
- Avoid distracting stimuli: Try to keep the persons environment free of distractions, such as loud noises or brightly-patterned decor, as it can be confusing and disorienting.
- Avoid changing their environment: Try not to make any changes to the persons surroundings, such as changes to the layout of the house. Keeping it the same can help prevent falls caused by disorientation.
- Avoid confusing them: When you communicate with the person, use simple sentences and ask only yes or no questions. Avoid interrupting them or finishing their sentences. Though it may take them time to complete a sentence, interjecting in between can confuse and frustrate them.
- Avoid losing your patience with them: Parkinsons disease can cause the person to speak and move slowly. Be patient with them and try to match their pace to make them more comfortable.
- Avoid shouting at them: There may be times when you get angry or frustrated with your loved one. However, try to refrain from shouting at them or speaking to them sharply. The dementia that may accompany Parkinsons disease can cause them to respond aggressively. Stay calm and be still while you talk to them.
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Parkinson’s Disease Nursing Homes
Org, an affiliate of the james parkinson alliance, attached to up the quality of life story for people who have had dbs and their caregivers. Hallucinations have solid psychosocial personal effects and are the briny reason for admitting patients with parkinsons disease into nursing homes. Amantadine is one such weapon system of choice, a flu drug that was sanctioned in the mid-1960s, appeared to amend those with parkinsons disease, who were toughened with it whilst in nursing homes.
Forget Fava Beans For Parkinsons
Fava beans contain an amino acid known as levodopa. Levodopa is an active ingredient in some Parkinsons medications. Seems like a good reason to eat a lot of fava beans, right?
Nope. Dr. Gostkowski explains that the amount in the beans is tiny compared to whats in your medication. You cant eat enough fava beans to have any effect on your symptoms, he says.
Bananas also have levodopa in them, Dr. Gostkowski says. But, like fava beans, its not possible to eat enough bananas to affect PD symptoms. Of course, if you like fava beans or bananas, enjoy! But dont go overboard or expect them to work like medication. Eat a variety of fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains for balance.
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Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Neurologists usually describe the progression of Parkinsons symptoms in stages, using the system known as the Hoehn and Yahr scale. These stages are:
- Stage I Symptoms are seen on one side of the body only.
- Stage II Symptoms are seen on both sides of the body. Theres no impairment of balance.
- Stage III Balance impairment has begun. In this mild- to moderate stage of the disease, the person is still physically independent.
- Stage IV This stage is marked by severe disability, but the person is still able to walk or stand unassisted.
- Stage V The person is wheelchair-bound or bedridden unless assisted.