Doctors can be a wonderful source of information and support after an elderly loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but they won’t always tell you everything you need to know about managing the disease. Toronto, ON, elderly care experts discuss 5 things about Parkinson’s the doctor may forget to mention.
1. Parkinson’s Medications Can Cause Significant Side Effects
Most people with Parkinson’s are on multiple medications to treat the symptoms of the disease. The most common side effects of these medications include:
- Uncontrolled twitching or other involuntary body movements
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
Your loved one can be proactive in minimizing the side effects by letting the doctor know about any changes in symptoms and asking about potential side effects anytime he or she starts a new medication.
2. Be Patient with Treatments
It can take time to find the right combination of medications and other treatments to manage your loved one’s Parkinson’s symptoms. In some cases, it can take several years to arrive at the right therapy. Your loved one should not hesitate to ask about alternatives if he or she feels a particular treatment is not working or use online resources to learn about how Parkinson’s treatments are supposed to work.
3. Find a Good Neurologist
Not all neurologists specialize in Parkinson’s disease. Your loved one should look for a neurologist with a focus in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has an online tool to help your loved one find a local specialist.
4. Exercise Regularly
According to the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, an hour of vigorous exercise 2 to 4 days a week can give seniors with Parkinson’s a better quality of life. Exercise can enhance balance and coordination, increase muscle control and flexibility, and boost mood. Some activities for your loved one to consider include yoga, Zumba, strength training, and tai chi.
5. Join a Support Group
Knowing others are facing similar challenges can be a great source of comfort when managing a difficult diagnosis. Ask the doctor or go online to find Parkinson’s support groups in your loved one’s area. Keep in mind it may take a little time to find the right group for your loved one.
Many doctor-recommended treatments can help your loved one manage Parkinson’s, but there’s nothing like having a caring person to lean on for support. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers can assist your loved one with mobility and exercise, provide transportation to and from medical appointments, and help with many different daily activities. For more information on Parkinson’s care Toronto, ON, families can rely on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (416) 488-8777 to request a free in-home consultation.