Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Elderly Care for Parkinson's Disease: Helping Your Parent Deal with Tremors

By Denise Roskamp

Elderly Care in Wayland MA

As a family caregiver for a senior who is dealing with Parkinson's disease, you primary goal is likely to coordinate elderly care tailored to their specific needs now and designed to manage the needs that will arise in the future. This means hiring an elderly health care services provider who understands the challenges that your parent is currently facing and can handle them on a daily basis, and who is prepared to modify their care as these needs and challenges progress so that your parent gets the consistent, dedicated care that they need in order to live the quality of life that they deserve. 

One important way that you and your parent's elderly health care services provider can make sure that your parent is getting the proper care is to understand the specific symptoms that they are facing so that you can know how to manage them. This will enable you to respond to the symptoms promptly and encourage your parent to continue living a healthy, happy, and active lifestyle as they progress through the disease.

The symptom of Parkinson's disease that is generally considered the most readily recognizable and noticeable is tremors. These are involuntary movements of the hands, limbs, feet, face, or even torso that can range from very mild to sudden and dramatic. Some seniors with this condition will never experience tremors, some will only experience them occasionally, and some will have near-constant tremors. Even if your aging loved one only experiences tremors sometimes, it is important that you take the time to help them manage these symptoms so that they can preserve their quality of life.

Some ways that you or a home care provider can help your parent cope with their tremor symptoms include:

• Avoid "spreading." Whether your parent is walking around or doing an activity of daily living such as eating, encourage them to keep their limbs as close to their body as possible. Avoid "spreading out" such as stretching their arms far out to their sides or taking large steps. The further the body is spread, the more likely it is that they will experience tremors or worsened tremors.

• Find support. Tremors tend to increase when the muscles are stressed. Finding support during actions will help to ease that stress. For example, when your parent is sitting down to write or eat, encourage them to prop their arms or elbows on the table so that they are not holding up their arms while also doing the movement of their task. An elderly care provider can be a tremendous help in this situation. This care provider can offer physical support to your parent while they are walking, standing, or transferring to minimize tremors and encourage more independence.

• Offer emotional support. Physical support is not the only thing that your parent needs to help them manage their tremors. Emotional support can be extremely helpful as well. Being patient with your parent and letting them know that you are there for them can ease stress and anxiety, both of which can worsen tremors. This is particularly important when your parent is trying to complete a task. Feeling less stressed will help them to focus more and go at their own pace so they have a higher chance of success with the task.