As a leading Jefferson County home care agency, we see firsthand how families are often left to figure out how to best manage their loved one’s symptoms after a Parkinson’s diagnosis. While your loved one’s medical team will be your best source of information, there are some things you should know that the doctor may not tell you in the beginning.
1. Medication Side Effects Can Be Worse Than the Symptoms
Parkinson’s medications are often designed to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity, but they can also cause side effects that can be worse than the symptoms. It is important to be prepared for side effects such as twitching, decreased appetite, and behavioral changes so that you can have a plan in place to manage them.
2. It Takes Time to Find the Right Treatment
Since Parkinson’s symptoms vary by patient, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It may take trying several different medications and/or therapies before your loved one finds relief. For this reason, you will need to communicate with his or her medical team about both the positive and negative changes that occur with each new treatment.
3. Exercise Is Important
Too often, physicians focus solely on providing medication to manage symptoms. However, many seniors with PD find that exercise helps control muscle movements and retain strength. An hour of exercise two to four times a week seems to be the sweet spot for effectively managing symptoms without becoming overexerted.
4. Parkinson’s Affects More Than Just Motor Skills
Tremors and rigidity may be hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s, but many seniors also experience non-motor effects from the condition as well. Your loved one may experience problems with speech, constipation, and mood changes. Knowing that these could be due to Parkinson’s will help you both find better management strategies.
5. Support Groups Are Valuable Resources
It is important to expand your loved one’s support network to include others beyond his or her medical team and immediate family. Joining a support group will put your loved one in touch with people who share similar emotions and challenges. Not only will this provide moral support, but it can also yield valuable insight into new treatment methods.
6. It Is Important to Look Ahead
Parkinson’s is a progressive condition that tends to increase in severity over time. Planning for the future allows patients to feel a sense of control over their long-term care. While no one can predict the future, making decisions now about their living arrangements and whether or not to hire a caregiver in Jefferson County will make things easier for everyone if your loved one’s symptoms begin to interfere with their independence.
Begin planning for the future by calling Home Care Assistance at (303) 987-5992. In addition to comprehensive Parkinson’s care, we offer Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Jefferson County. Our expertly trained caregivers can help with everyday activities, transportation, mobility, and offer emotional support and companionship. We also offer flexible care schedules and customized care plans, ensuring each client has the type of care they need just when they need it. Reach out today—we are here to help.