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Activities That Can Slow Parkinson’s Disease in Seniors

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on June 29, 2015

For seniors with Parkinson’s, certain lifestyle factors can help slow the progression of the disease. Implementing a routine of exercises or activities that target particular Parkinson’s symptoms can be especially helpful for many seniors. Senior home care experts at Home Care Assistance in Chandler suggest that the following four activities may help delay certain symptoms.

1. Walking

Seniors with Parkinson’s are prone to falls because the disease is characterized by a slow, shuffling gait. Ask your loved one’s Parkinson’s caregiver in Chandler to assist your loved one as he or she practices walking back and forth briskly while pointing his or her toes up. As your loved one steps forward, his or her heel should hit the ground first, then roll forward transferring the weight to the toes. This roll step can protect and build muscles in the lower legs that will help prevent falls.

2. Practicing Posture

To improve the stooped posture associated with Parkinson’s, have your loved one stand against a wall or door frame with his or her shoulder blades and lower back touching the wall. Encourage your loved one to maintain this posture as he or she moves forward. At the next wall or door frame, your loved one should recheck his or her posture, ensuring that the shoulders and lower back can still touch the wall.

3. Buttoning Shirts

Parkinson’s disease causes a loss of manual dexterity that makes it difficult to perform tasks involving fine motor skills. To improve your loved one’s dexterity and muscle memory, have him or her repeat simple manual tasks. Having your loved one practice buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt is an easy way to get started. Encourage your loved one to complete five to ten repetitions several times a day and increase to 15 or 20 as he or she gets stronger.

4. Exaggerating Facial Expressions

Address the mask-like expression that is common in seniors with Parkinson’s by encouraging your loved one to practice exaggerated smiles, yawns, frowns, and eyebrow raises in front of the mirror. While this exercise can feel silly at first, repeating these exaggerated expressions can improve muscle tone, as well as your loved one’s facial range of motion, which can also slow the development of the Parkinson’s “mask.”

If your loved one has Parkinson’s and you are interested in finding ways to make his or her life easier, implementing some of these basic exercises can help. To ensure your loved one has support with these activities, as well as other daily tasks, you may also consider the help of an hourly caregiver in Chandler who can provide assistance with routine tasks like bathing, cooking, and housework. To learn more about the caregiving services at Home Care Assistance in Chandler, give a Care Manager a call at 480.448.6215 and schedule a complimentary, in-home consultation.