As some of us may already know, it is not easy to provide round the clock care for someone with Parkinson’s. Arbour Companions & Care are a family owned, specialist, 24-hour live in care company. We provide carers who live with their clients, giving them the care that they would receive in a good care home, but delivered in the comfort and security of their own home. You might know a loved one that has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It’s difficult to watch someone close to you suffer and you want to be able to do your best for them, but it’s important to remember that you also have to take care of yourself. Here is a little guide to help you and your loved ones with Parkinson’s. By taking into consideration these tips you can help make life easier for yourselves and your loved ones with Parkinson’s.
Person Centred Care
With experience in caring for those with Parkinson’s, we would recommend the importance of person centred care. Treat them as an individual and not just someone who has the condition. It’s important to treat those with Parkinson’s as individuals rather than just labeling them. Everyone will be at different stages with Parkinson’s, but that doesn’t mean we should act differently towards them.
Constipation can often be a problem for those with Parkinson’s, this can be caused by the improper functioning of the autonomic nervous system. This system is responsible for regulating smooth muscle activity. There are a few different things you can do to avoid constipation such as:
- Consuming more water
- Reduce stress
- A diet with a high consumption in fiber
- Increase in exercise
- Keeping the same routine
- Eating a smaller amount of dairy products
- Not resisting the urge to have a bowel movement
Your diet is key to this, make sure to have plenty of fibre in your diet. Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain bread and cereal. The consumption of bran-based cereals as well as fruits with edible seeds will help with constipation. We also recommend that you make a conscious effort to make sure they keep up with their water intake. We advise to avoid drinks containing caffeine as these can have a dehydrating effect on the body.
The use of an electric toothbrush can be helpful for those who suffer from stiff hands and fingers from Parkinson’s. Make sure to have a small towel handy with you if drooling acures. A good tip if you are helping someone with brushing / flossing their teeth is to make sure that you do not touch the back of their tongue. This can cause a gagging reflex and may cause them to be sick.
By using an electric shaver the user will be able to grip the shaver which will be easier on their hands and fingers. Also they will be able to get the shave that they want without risk of using a sharp razor blade. We would also recommend that after shaving that they use lotion instead of aftershave, which may be too harsh on their skin.
There are a lot of health benefits that come along with exercise. Staying active can help you sleep, strengthen your muscles and joints, reduce stress and depression, and improve posture, balance and gait. We all know of the benefits that exercise can have on the body and the mind. Here is a list of exercises that are suitable for those with Parkinson’s:
- Walking, hiking or jogging
- Racket sports such as badminton, table tennis, squash
- Yoga or Tai Chi
- Outdoor cycling
- Aerobic classes
- Marching with swinging arms
- Swimming in different strokes
Additional exercises that you can participate in is their facial muscles, jaws and mouth. You can sing or read out loud, try using big lip movement or make faces. Listening to music and relaxation guided imagery may help ease tremors. You can learn guided imagery from books, CDs, or DVDs.
Bathing can be seen as a difficult challenge due to mobility and the severity of the disease, here are some tips that can help. Use an absorbent terry cloth robe after bathing. Then they don’t have to dry themselves off with a towel. If mobility is an issue we would recommend using the shower, as tubs can be a falling hazard. We also recommend installing a grab bar and other mobility bathroom equipment to help with showering. Sometimes Parkinson’s can cause dandruff. If it does, use a little shampoo with mild salicylic acid or coal tar, then rinse their hair well.
Having a dry mouth can be a common symptom with those who have Parkinson’s. This can cause many problems as saliva is used to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Here are some tips for dealing with a dry mouth:
- Get advice about your diet. Some foods make dryness worse. Your GP can refer you to a dietitian
- Take frequent sips of water, so you’re not dehydrated
- Use lip balm to keep lips moist, particularly the corners of the mouth
- Remove and clean dentures at night to give your mouth a chance to recover
- Ask your dentist or doctor about the possibility of using artificial saliva. Specialist dry mouth products are available on prescription
- Suck sweets or chew gum to help increase saliva and reduce dryness. But make sure these are sugar-free to help avoid tooth decay and other mouth problems
It’s important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. A dry mouth and pooling of saliva and food in the mouth can cause problems with your oral health. We hope that you have found this article helpful. If you would like to contact us for any further information or enquire about are 24-hour live in care for Parkinson’s then call us 01276543765.