APRIL 2015 Parkinson's Awareness Month
LIVING WITH PARKINSON'S
It is a challenge living with Parkinson's. But the keyword is LIVING!!! In this week's blog we will provide tips on things you can do to maintain your quality of life.
NUTRITION: Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water is important to all of us. It is more so in those with Parkinson's to help keep their bones strong, decreasing risk of fracture if one falls. It also helps fight constipation which is common with Parkinson's.
Bone thinning is a risk for one with Parkinson's. It is important to eat foods that provide bone strengthening nutrients: calcium, magnesium, vitamins D & K. Regular exposure to sunlight is also important as it increases vitamin D in the body and helps as a bone-strengthening agent. Walking and other weight-bearing exercises help in keeping bones strong.
Dehydration: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Medications used in treating Parkinson's can increase the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to confusion, weakness, balance problem, respiratory failure, kidney problems and can be fatal.
Bowel Impaction: Parkinson's can slow the movement of the colon leading to constipation. Getting enough fiber in your diet is important to prevent this.
ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADL'S): Living with Parkinson's interferes with your basic ADL's. Here are some helpful tips.
Bathing: Bath tubs and shower stalls should have at least two handrails to hold on getting in and out of stall. Never use the towel bar, soap dish or faucet as a handrail. Use of a non-skid rubber mat in stall is recommended. Don't use bar soap!! It is slippery and hard to hold. It can leave a slippery film on floor. Use pump soaps instead. Keep a nightlight on in bathroom. If you are alone, bring a cordless phone with you to call for help if needed.
Grooming: Rigidity and tremors make it difficult to handle toothbrushes, razors and hairdryers. Sit down to perform these activities as it helps conserve energy and prevent falling. Prop your elbows on the vanity/sink if shoulders get tired. Consider using an electric razor, electric toothbrush and/or hands-free hairdryer that can be mounted on vanity.
Getting Dressed: Allow plenty of time to get dressed. Hurrying can lead to stress and frustration which can slow you down. Sit down in a chair when dressing-not on edge of bed where one might slip and fall. Avoid socks with tight elastic bands. Wear light weight, supportive shoes with Velcro closures or elastic shoelaces.
Toileting and Incontinence: Try a regular schedule for going to bathroom. If getting up at night to use the bathroom is a problem, limit evening fluids two hours before bedtime. May use incontinence products(s) if prone to accidents.
Getting around with Canes and Walkers: Canes Do's: get a straight cane with a rubber tip. Hand grips should be comfortable and height should be adjusted for best support. Hiking sticks or poles are also helpful. Laser canes (and walkers) are available if you are experiencing "freezing" of gait. Canes Don'ts: avoid tripod or quad canes as all points do not touch the ground at the same time and provide less stability. Walker's Do's: get a four or more wheeled walker which provides better stability and easier turns. Walker Don'ts: avoid standard walkers as picking up the walker to advance it can cause loss of balance.
Mobility: Build physical activity into your daily routine: gardening, housework or washing the car as able. Walk with a friend. Attend a community exercise program. Move around frequently, walk during commercials if you tend to watch TV. Put on some upbeat music and dance. Take a grandchild for a walk.
Suggested reference: "PARKINSON'S DISEASE AND THE ART OF MOVING" by John Argue
Hope these tips helped! Please share your tips that have you LIVING with Parkinson's!
Call ElderCaring when/if assistance in your home is needed!
Next week: Safety at Home