If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s natural to have questions about what the future holds and about where to begin to develop a care plan. Many patients wish to live at home and maintain their independence for as long as possible, and may need the reassurance of quality care to ensure safety. Home health care and live-in care (depending on the stage of progression) can be the best balance that affords the comforts of home with the reassurance of professional care.
In addition to the most well-known symptoms of Parkinson’s disease tremors and difficulty moving, the Mayo Clinic explains a number of other challenging symptoms that individuals with this condition face. These include:
- Depression: Changes in mood, anxiety and difficulty feeling motivated are often linked with Parkinson’s.
- Fatigue: Patients often experience an overall sense of exhaustion.
- Sleep Disruption: These disruptions can range from insomnia to a rapid movement disorder – a condition that causes sufferers to act out dreams, which can be potentially dangerous during the night.
- Pain: This can be generalized pain throughout the body or specific to one location.
- Lack of Control Over Bodily Functions: This can include difficulty swallowing, causing drooling, as well as difficulty with a slowed digestive tract and bladder function.
- Sudden Drops in Blood Pressure: Known as orthostatic hypotension, these sudden drops in blood pressure can cause dizziness.
- Diminished Cognitive Function: In later stages of Parkinson’s, patients can experience a form of dementia that impairs thinking.
Some of these symptoms, such as depression and sleep disruption, can be managed with medication. But even when well-regulated with medication, these symptoms can still impact the day-to-day functioning and require assistance with household tasks and mobility.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research notes that Parkinson’s disease not only has a serious effect on patients, but can have a significant impact on loved ones and family relationships. Acknowledging that it is challenging to see a loved one suffer, and to manage all of the health issues associated with Parkinson’s disease, the Foundation writes, “Caring for a person with a chronic illness full-time can be overwhelming. Put together a list of friends and family members whom you trust and can call upon to relieve you for a few hours or in case of an emergency. Consider seeking outside, professional help for in-home assistance if you can afford it.”
Some of the advantages that home health care can provide in managing wellness for patients include the ability for caregivers to have help, company to help alleviate patients’ depression, and assistance in preparing nutritious meals. The Michael J. Fox Foundation notes that there are some foods that are believed to help alleviate symptoms. These include:
- Plenty of water.
- Warm water (especially in the morning) can help fight constipation.
- Staying hydrated with water throughout the day can also help maintain blood pressure.
- Turmeric is a spice that is thought to help ease painful muscle cramping.
- This can be found in yellow mustard, curry powder, and some people drink it with warm water and lemon.
- Tonic water, which contains quinine, is also thought to be helpful in easing muscle cramping.
- Oxidative stress is linked to Parkinson’s disease, and antioxidants have been believed to combat this stress and cellular damage.
Foods known for their antioxidant properties include:
– Bell peppers
– Whole grains
– Kidney beans
– Dark chocolate
It’s important to note that because some patients struggle with swallowing, for the sake of safety they should have assistance while eating and drinking. There are also therapies that may help with swallowing. A care management plan can include services like transportation to these therapy sessions.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease – but the condition can be managed. Home health care can be an integral part of improving well-being for patients who live with this condition.
At Premier Home Health Care, we want to provide you with resources to begin the preparation of a care plan. Our Quick Assessment to help determine if it’s time for home health care and our Starter Guide can help illustrate where to begin. Please call us at 1-866-255-8620 to talk to our care specialists.