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How To Help A Person With Parkinson Disease

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How To Provide Support

Taking Care of Someone with Parkinsons Disease

Please read over the list if you have Parkinsons hopefully, you can use it to remind yourself of some common goals to counter your Parkinsons. If you are a friend of someone living with Parkinsons, here is a chance to help. If you can spare a few minutes every-now-and-then, please use the checklist to visit your sedentary friend with Parkinsons. Your goal is to help them re-activate and re-engage in their life.

Stretching To Loosen Stiff Muscles Of Parkinson’s

The following stretching and flexibility exercises can help to relieve stiff muscles, improve flexibility, and make everyday tasks easier:

  • Stand facing a wall, about 8 inches away and reaching your arms upward. Place your hands on the wall for balance and stretch out your arms and back.
  • Place your back against a wall for support and briskly march in place, lifting your knees as high as possible.
  • Sit in a chair with a high, straight back and stretch your arms behind it, bringing your shoulders back as far as you can. As you stretch, lift your head toward the ceiling.
  • Sitting in a chair, stomp your feet up and down while pumping your arms back and forth at your sides.
  • Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease

    Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons. When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator. Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.

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    Foster A Good Relationship

    Lastly, maintaining your relationship and communication with the person with Parkinsonâs can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of caregiving. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, the roles change and the person with Parkinsonâs may go from being an independent head of the household to a very dependent person requiring a significant level of care. However, research shows that despite high levels of strain, caregivers with good quality relationships have reduced depression and better physical health. Remember, as a caregiver your service to your loved one is beyond measure in terms of love, depth of care, and concern.

    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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    How To Prevent Parkinsons

    While its not yet known if there are surefire ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, there are a few things experts recommend.

    For example, you might try incorporating physical activity into your routine and eating a healthy and balanced diet for a variety of health reasons. So far, research into nutritional supplements is lacking. However, if you have specific dietary needs, talk to your doctor to see if supplementation is appropriate.

    Could CBD oil help? Its possible, but we dont know for sure yet. Some research, including , suggest that cannabidiol might help prevent Parkinsons disease. However, the studies are mostly animal studies and there is not yet a body of research involving humans and CBD.

    Key Points For Safely Helping Someone Move

    • Explain what you are going to do before you start moving the person.
    • Let them know how they can help you, even if its just by relaxing and doing nothing at all!
    • Make sure that you have plenty of space and no obstacles where you plan to move to.
    • Stand as close as possible to the person you are going to move as this will reduce strain on your back.
    • Place your feet comfortably apart so that you are well balanced and in a solid position, also ensuring that you can move forwards and backwards as well as side-to-side.
    • To reduce the risk of straining your back, always bend at the knees using your thigh muscles to take the weight and avoid twisting or bending at the waist.
    • Use roll, tilt and slide techniques instead of lifting wherever possible.
    • If the person you care for experiences muscular rigidity, then it is advisable to flex the limbs before attempting to move them. This is particularly important if they have been lying or sitting in the same position for some time. For example, if they have been sitting then flex the knees several times or if they have been lying down bend the legs.

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    Balance Impairment And Falls In Parkinsons Disease

    One of the most challenging symptoms of Parkinsons disease that fundamentally affects quality of life is balance impairment that can lead to falls.

    Falls are one of the major causes of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for people with PD, so finding ways to prevent as many falls as possible is a high priority for people with PD. Thankfully there are things you can do to improve your stability and decrease the likelihood of falling, and well share some helpful tips and advice below.

    Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease

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    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
    • medication
    • multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
    • deep brain stimulation surgery .

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    Research And Statistics: Who Has Parkinsons Disease

    According to the Parkinsons Foundation, nearly 1 million people in the United States are living with the disease. More than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinsons.

    About 4 percent of people with Parkinsons are diagnosed before age 50.

    Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women.

    What Are The Risk Factors For Parkinsons Disease

    Risk factors for Parkinsons disease include:


    People with a first-degree relative with Parkinsons are at an increased risk for the disease possibly as much as 9 percent greater.

    Fifteen to 25 percent of people with Parkinsons have a known relative with the disease, but a condition called familial Parkinsons, which has a known genetic link, is relatively rare.

    The average age of onset is 60 years, and the incidence rises with advancing age. About 10 percent of people have early-onset or young-onset disease, which begins before age 50.


    Parkinsons affects about 50 percent more men than women, for unknown reasons.

    Pesticide Exposure

    Exposure to some pesticides has been shown to raise the risk of developing Parkinsons.

    Problematic chemicals include organochlorine pesticides like DDT, dieldrin, and chlordane. Rotenone and permethrin have also been implicated.

    Fungicide and Herbicide Exposure

    Exposure to the fungicide maneb or the herbicides 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid , paraquat, or Agent Orange may raise the risk of Parkinsons.

    The U.S. Veterans Health Administration considers Parkinsons to be a possible service-related illness if the person was exposed to significant amounts of Agent Orange.

    Head Injuries

    Head injuries may contribute to the development of Parkinsons in some people.

    Coffee and Smoking

    People who drink coffee or smoke tobacco have been found to have a lower risk of Parkinsons disease, for reasons that remain unclear.

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    What Makes Pd Hard To Predict

    Parkinsonâs comes with two main buckets of possible symptoms. One affects your ability to move and leads to motor issues like tremors and rigid muscles. The other bucket has non-motor symptoms, like pain, loss of smell, and dementia.

    You may not get all the symptoms. And you canât predict how bad theyâll be, or how fast theyâll get worse. One person may have slight tremors but severe dementia. Another might have major tremors but no issues with thinking or memory. And someone else may have severe symptoms all around.

    On top of that, the drugs that treat Parkinsonâs work better for some people than others. All that adds up to a disease thatâs very hard to predict.

    How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed


    Someone with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be sent to see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain, nerves, and muscles. The neurologist may do some tests, including a brain scan and blood tests. These tests will not make the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, but the doctor will want to make sure that there is no other problem causing the symptoms. To diagnose Parkinson’s disease, the doctor relies on a person’s medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam.

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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.

    For detailed information on cueing and movement strategies see How can I help myself? within Falls, Freezing, Gait and Rigidity.

    How To Communicate With Your Loved One Who Has Parkinson’s

    If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinsons disease, you are probably familiar with two of the hallmark physical symptoms: tremors and impaired gait.

    Unfortunately, the disease also affects a person’s ability to communicate, which can be frustrating for both caregivers and your loved one with Parkinsons.

    As with many aspects of caregiving, the more you know, the better you can handle challenges. Improving communication with people who have Parkinson’s is possible.

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    Rehabilitation For Parkinsons Disease

    NYU Langones Rusk Rehabilitation has a long history of treating people with Parkinson’s disease. The professionals in our Parkinsons disease rehabilitation program have specialized training that allows them to provide the medical, nursing, and therapeutic care people with the condition need. The goal is to maximize a persons ability to function and to maintain quality of life.

    At Rusk Rehabilitation, rehabilitation doctors, called physiatrists, specialize in treating people with Parkinsons disease. Physiatrists evaluate the medical needs and treatment goals of people with Parkinsons disease, as well as the needs and concerns of their families. The physiatrist and rehabilitation team then create a customized treatment plan to help each person achieve the best possible outcome.

    Discuss Openly With Your Loved One

    How can changes to diet help people with Parkinson’s?

    Together, you can develop strategies to implement them according to the stages of the disease. This will help you maintain the health and quality of life of you and your loved one. Having a game plan can help you maintain your energy to enjoy the good moments with your loved one.

    Remember that even though you are there to help them, your loved one wants to maintain their independence and find ways to meet certain needs on their own.

    Keep a positive attitude

    Symptoms of Parkinsons disease are unpredictable and different for everyone. The physical and mental state of your loved one can change greatly from one day to another depending on medication effectiveness. Some activities, events or travel plans will likely be cancelled or postponed, but your attitude can have a significant impact on how you feel. Focus on what the person with the disease is capable of doing rather than what they cannot do.

    Enjoy life and create good memories. The ones you were used to may be less frequent, but you have the opportunity to create new and different enjoyable moments.

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    What Is Parkinsons Disease

    Parkinsonâs disease is a progressive, neurological disease that mainly affects movement but can also affect cognition. Parkinsonâs disease results from the destruction of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia.

    Different parts of the brain work together by sending signals to each other to coordinate all of our thoughts, movements, emotions, and senses. When we want to move, a signal is sent from the basal ganglia to the thalamus and then to the cerebral cortex, all different parts of the brain. Nerve cells in the brain communicate by using chemicals. A chemical called dopamine is produced in a group of cells called the substantia nigra and is essential for normal movement. When the cells die, they can no longer produce and send dopamine, so the signal to move doesnât get communicated. By the time a person starts to experience motor symptoms of Parkinsonâs, theyâve already lost approximately 50% of their dopamine producing cells. People may experience non-motor symptoms from loss of other neurotransmitters up to ten years before motor symptoms are noticed.

    When And Where Can I Find Help

    Support is a central and protective element that helps overcome daily challenges. Start identifying the people around you and the healthcare system or community resources that can help you.

    Ideally, you should start building your support system as soon as you learn about the diagnosis. You may not need help immediately but finding resources will be easier now than the day you become overwhelmed.

    If you feel like you can no longer cope with the exhaustion, take a break and let others take care of your loved one. Not everything will be done according to your requirements and methods, but you must learn to let go of certain things so that your health does not suffer.

    Asking for help may seem difficult at first but remember that it is neither a sign of weakness nor abandonment of your loved one.

    Parkinson Québecs toll-free, bilingual and confidential information and referral line is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

    LAppui also offers an information service for caregivers, 7 days a week, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. You can reach them by phone at 1 855 852-7784 or by email at info-aidant@lappui.org. A resource directory for caregivers is also available on their website.

    Ask those around you for help

    Involve family and friends by discussing care options if you are not available or in the case of an emergency.

    Create a list of professionals and caregivers in your support system

    Open a file at the CLSC

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    What To Expect When A Loved One Has Parkinsons Disease

    Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes a gradual loss of muscle control. Although the disorder generally occurs in elderly people, it is occasionally seen in younger adults. In fact, roughly 5-to-10% of all Parkinsons disease cases occur before the age of 50.

    Parkinsons disease usually evolves in five distinct stages:

    It is important to remember that Parkinsons disease affects each patient differently. While some may remain in Stage 1 for years, others advance quickly. Some people might even skip one more stage of disease progression entirely.

    There is no cure for Parkinsons disease, but prescription medications, deep brain stimulation, and certain therapies will usually alleviate or lessen symptoms. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help people with Parkinsons disease improve muscle strength and balance.

    While Parkinsons disease itself is not fatal, its debilitating effects do increase the potential for deadly complications. Because swallowing issues may cause aspiration of food or liquids into their lungs, pneumonia is the most common cause of death among people with Parkinsons disease. Worsening mobility and balance problems also increase their risk for fatal falls.

    How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed

    How to take care of an Individual with Parkinsonâs Disease ...

    Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.

    To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.

    If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.

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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.


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