Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disease that impairs movement. If your parent has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may notice them exhibiting symptoms such as hand tremors, an expressionless face, slurred words, and poor coordination.
Your loved one is suffering from a dopamine deficiency. In Parkinson’s sufferers, the part of the brain that produces dopamine, called the substantia nigra, deteriorates over time.
Scientists don’t know what causes the substantia nigra to deteriorate. However, as the rates of Parkinson’s have continued to rise, experts have posited several hypotheses about what triggers the disease, including air pollution, exposure to heavy metals, and exposure to pesticides.
Aging is also a risk factor, but only about 1% of seniors over 65 develop the disease.
Below, we ask our experts at Casa de Salud for tips on how to help your senior parent cope with a diagnosis and enable them to live a better life.
Enroll them in a mobility program
A mobility program that involves physical therapy can help your loved one maintain their independence for longer and work around certain deficiencies in their coordination.
Mobility programs can also help your parent improve their balance and prevent falls, which are commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Help them out around the house
Everyday activities such as washing the dishes and cleaning the house are harder to perform when experiencing movement dysfunctions.
Not everyone is comfortable with asking for help, even if they need it. Therefore, if you want to show your loved one support, step in and give them a hand with chores around the house.
Keep an eye out for new symptoms
As your loved one’s disease progresses, it’s important to look for new symptoms so you can adjust their lifestyle. You should also take note if there are any changes, whether for better or worse, after taking medications, as many medications come with side effects.
Seek medical help every three to six months
Even if your loved one is independent and capable of going to appointments by themselves, you should still accompany them, as they may forget some of the details shared by medical professionals.
Our experts recommend medical visits every three to six months to monitor the progression of the disease and prescribe new medications if necessary.
Learn more about caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease
Although Parkinson’s disease is incurable, it’s manageable with medications that either mimic dopamine or prevent the breakdown of dopamine in the brain.
Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our two offices in Los Angeles, California, and find out how we can help your parent with Parkinson’s disease live a better life.