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Tips on Taking care of Parkinson’s Patients

It takes love, understanding and a heart of gold to take care of Parkinson's patients

A patient using a walker

When we were growing up, there was this man in the village who had these bad trembles and we used to laugh at him as well as imitate his wobbly movements and vigorous shaking of hands. Then someone, I do not remember whether it was one of the kids or an adult, said that he must have killed a lizard. And so, he got the tremors. So all through my childhood, we never killed lizards. Of course we would try to chase and scare them away from our house walls but no kid in their right mind would hurl a stone at the lizard. Why? Because if you did, you might kill it and you would get the awful tremors.

When I joined college, I stumbled on an old man with similar tremors. And our lecturer told us that he had Parkinson’s disease and no, he had not killed a lizard. He explained that Parkinson’s was a disorder where one’s dopamine levels have gone so low that they are not able to control their motor movements.

Today, I take care of 3 patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and it is one of the most tasking duties because Parkinson’s patients are anxious, always stressed and mostly depressed. Over time though, I have gotten some tips on how to best take care of them.

Love and understanding

Parkinson’s patients need a lot of love. You got to shower them with it because it is not like they went out to seek the disease. You also need to assure them that all will be well. When they are teary waiting for the medication to kick in, you need to offer them a shoulder to lean on and listen to their complaints and curses.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

Regular exercise of the limbs have been shown to alleviate dyskinesia ( a condition where they fidget alot involuntarily). Exercise can include walking, swimming with supervision or even mock boxing.

Meds to curb the symptoms

Although there is no known cure for the disease at the moment, Parkinson’s can be controlled through the use of meds that introduce dopamine into the body. Some of these drugs include levodopa, sinemet and carbidopa. You need to speak with a doctor so that they can recommend the best drugs.

Cbd oil for anxiety management

Parkinson’s patients have to battle with anxiety and stress which has been said to be caused by alteration of the dopamine chemical content in the brain. They are therefore anxious for unknown reasons. Cbd oil for treating pain and anxiety has been found to be very effective in getting you out of the anxiety. Unlike the normal marijuana that gets you high, cbd oil has no THC and as such you will not feel high.

Adaptive equipment to prevent falls

Parkinson’s patients fall a lot and this causes lots of injuries. They will fall when trying to wake up from the bed, when walking or even when trying to sit down. You need to get them adaptive equipment to prevent these falls such as walkers, walking canes and bed support rails.

Feeding Equipment

Because of the arm tremors, Parkinson’s patients have a hard time eating or drinking. They will spill everything or make a mess of themselves. I once went out for a dinner date with this old man and he felt so much embarrased while trying to feed himself because no food would get to his mouth. He would spill it before it got there. So, I had to feed him.

Fortunately, there are some weighted and smart parkinson’s spoons that they can use without spilling so much food. There are also some non spill cups for adults that you can get them from the local stores.

Weighted garments

A study published by Science Direct showed that when patients getting their wisdom tooth removed were wrapped in a weighted blanket, they registered less pain and anxiety. Those who were not wrapped in the weighted blankets were more fidgety and anxious before the tooth removal. 

The use of deep pressure to alleviate signs of stress and anxiety has also been used on autistic kids who were found to focus more in class when they wore weighted jackets.

You can therefore get your Parkinson’s patient some weighted blankets and jackets which will alleviate signs of dyskinesia. When one is sleeping under the weighted blanket or wearing the weighted vests, they feel as though they are getting a good bear-hug.

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