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7 Steps the Elderly Should Take Following a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders in the world. In the 2010/2011 Canadian Community Health Survey, it was reported that over 55,000 Canadians had been diagnosed with this condition. There is currently no known cure for Parkinson’s, which often makes it difficult for family members to provide care for their aging loved ones.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Oakville Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Here are a few steps seniors and their caregivers can take to prepare for life after a Parkinson’s diagnosis. 

1. Gather Important Documents

Seniors often live a relatively normal life for many years after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, but there may come a point when family members need to start managing household affairs. Seniors should begin collecting all legal and financial documents, including their will, pink slips, deeds, and birth certificates. Keeping all of this paperwork in a safe location where loved ones have access to could prevent legal problems if an accident occurs. 

2. Open Up to Loved Ones

Many people try to hide their symptoms, but this may complicate the situation. While your loved one doesn’t need to open up to everyone, telling close friends and family members about the diagnosis may make his or her life easier. Many people with progressive disorders find it therapeutic to spend a few moments explaining the condition to their loved ones. 

3. Find the Right Medical Team

Some family doctors don’t have the tools or expertise to provide proper care for seniors with Parkinson’s, which is why your loved one should immediately find a team of medical professionals who specialize in neurodegenerative disorders. These teams can come up with comprehensive treatment plans that minimize the symptoms of Parkinson’s and enhance your loved one’s quality of life. 

4. Establish a Support System

When it comes to serious medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, a little help can make a big difference. In the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, most seniors can manage their daily responsibilities on their own. However, as time goes on, they generally need help with tasks such as driving to the market and cooking meals. 

If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Oakville seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

5. Learn Parkinson’s Jargon

The medical terminology many doctors use can be confusing, and it is important for seniors to educate themselves as soon as possible. There are many excellent resources for those who want to learn about Parkinson’s, and most major cities have support groups. If your loved one’s city doesn’t have a Parkinson’s support group, he or she might want to join an online community or discussion forum. 

6. Chart the Symptoms and Medication Side Effects

Seniors need to chart their Parkinson’s symptoms and track the side effects of any medications they are taking. There is no single type of medication that works for everyone, and your loved one might need to try quite a few different prescriptions before finding one that works. Seniors and their caregivers should track sleep schedules, overall mood, energy levels, and the severity of tremors. 

7. Seek Out Mental Health Services

A chronic health condition can have a major impact on psychological health, which is why seniors with Parkinson’s should consider visiting a mental health specialist. These professionals can help with a wide variety of issues such as anxiety, anger, and depression. They can also teach seniors different ways to master their emotions such as meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises.

Aging in place can be challenging when living with Parkinson’s disease. Luckily, seniors can rely on dedicated caregivers who are trained in specialized Parkinson’s care. Oakville, ON, families can benefit from Parkinson’s care as well. If you need a break from caring for your elderly loved one, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance can provide respite for you while helping your loved one manage important everyday tasks. To create a customized Parkinson’s plan for your aging loved one, call us at (905) 337-1200 today.

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