As a caregiver, you might work with patients with different conditions—one of them may have Parkinson’s disease. With these patients, you need to help them do their daily activities, from eating and bathing to grooming and more.
Here are ways on how you can adequately care for a patient with Parkinson’s disease:
Eating and Taking Medicine
- Serve a lot of fiber-rich food like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Patients with Parkinson’s disease are more prone to constipation, which can be avoided by eating high-fiber food.
- They are also prone to developing osteoporosis, which can be combated with a calcium-rich diet. Moreover, fall accidents can result in fractures, which makes this more critical. Try feeding them cheese, milk, and yogurt.
- If they have trouble swallowing, you can feed them soft or moist food. Drinks are easier for them to swallow, but you should avoid food that easily crumbles, like crackers.
- Levodopa, a Parkinson’s drug, is best taken with an empty stomach because protein can reduce its absorption. Serve them their protein-rich foods after taking their medicine.
Bathing and Getting Dressed
- It’s best to avoid tub baths since they can be an accidental hazard. Only use the shower when bathing patients.
- Let them sit on a shower stool while being bathed. Also, have them use a hand-held showerhead and hold a grab bar.
- Dandruff is a common effect of Parkinson’s disease, so it’s best to use a little shampoo with salicylic acid or mild coal tar.
- After the bath, wrap them in an absorbent cloth robe so they don’t have to dry themselves off.
- Let them use an electric toothbrush if their hands are too stiff. Keep a small towel nearby to help with their drooling.
- For men, an electric shaver is also your best bet. Afterward, have them use lotion since aftershave can be too harsh on the skin.
- Lay out their clothes in the order that they like. Let them use dressing aids like buttonhooks or long-handled shoehorns.
- Let them dress while sitting on a stool.
- Ensure that their clothes are easy to wear, such as bras with hooks in front, elastic waistbands, and tube socks. You may also customize their clothes with velcro for more effortless wearing.
- Do not let them use shoes with rubber soles since they can cause tripping.
Other Daily Activities
- Let them try relaxing activities like listening to music and relaxation-guided imagery to reduce their stress.
- Encourage them to exercise their face muscles, mouth, and jaw regularly. Also, urge them to sing or read out loud, or even make faces to help with the exercising.
- Have them try specially adapted tools that help them hold things such as a paintbrush. Encourage them to do their hobbies like playing a musical instrument or painting. Don’t let them think that their symptoms will hinder them from enjoying other activities.
As a caregiver, you’ll be responsible for many things, including assisting or supervising your patient’s daily activities. Patients with Parkinson’s disease should still be able to enjoy the hobbies and activities they like. Additionally, showing your care for them will help them enjoy life better.
Gateway Home Health & Hospice is a home care agency in Colorado Springs committed to providing quality home-based patient care with respect for human dignity. Our highly trained clinicians have been serving communities with the highest level of care, exceeding the expectations of patients and families.
We believe in the patient-centered approach, which individualizes each care plan for their medical, physical, and emotional needs. Get in touch with us. We’re glad to extend our assistance.