It is completely possible to continue living your life as is with Parkinson’s disease by making small additions and changes to your daily habits. Even though every person is affected differently by the disease, below you can find some tips that can help enhance your overall well-being whilst living with Parkinson’s.
Eat different kinds of fibers such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily. Try to include foods good for your bones, i.e. those packed with calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium. Monitor your fat intake, especially saturated fat.
Limit alcohol intake, and be sure to consult with your doctor to find out if any particular kind interferes with your medicines. Also cut down on sugar, salt, and sodium. While solid foods are important, you also need liquids for your body to function healthily. Don’t forget to hydrate and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Focusing on your nutrition is essential, however, common symptoms of Parkison’s disease include weight loss, dehydration, constipation, and bone thinning, which means you need to pay extra attention to your meals.
Try planning your meals every week to keep things more organized. For stability and adaptability to your tremors, you can opt for a Parkinson’s spoon. They are a small investment that can potentially ensure more comfortable meals.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Exercising is a good habit that everyone should build. While living with Parkinson’s disease, exercise can have additional benefits. You will have better flexibility and more balance. Your coordination will also improve, and your muscles will strengthen. Symptoms of anxiety and depression may also significantly decrease.
It is vital that you first speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. They may recommend you to a physical therapist who can help you create a suitable workout regime.
They will help you determine the kind of exercise you should start with as well as the duration and frequency. You can try walking, swimming, tai chi, gardening, dancing, and so on.
Keep in mind that if you push yourself too much, it may result in an injury. Keep everything in moderation and follow your physical therapist’s advice to a T.
Prevent Yourself from Falling
You probably are affected by balance problems due to Parkinson’s disease. They can be quite hazardous. You need to be extra careful when you move, especially while working out. A little smartness can go a long way in such instances.
The first obvious tip is to refrain from moving too fast. When you take a step, plant your heels first. Focus on maintaining your posture, by looking ahead instead of down to do this. Try to keep your hands free while walking to provide extra stability if required. Prevent yourself from walking backward.
These steps, if taken properly, might be of help. If despite doing that you are still facing difficulties, opt for a device that will help you walk safer, such as a walker or a cane.
Maintain a Healthy Sleeping Schedule
At times, Parkinson’s disease messes up your sleep. Sleep problems and abnormal dreams may stand in your way of a good night’s rest. Lack of sleep may worsen your other symptoms. It can also lead to loss of motivation and fatigue.
There are a few things that may help you overcome it. Come up with a bedtime routine and follow it every night before going to bed. Try sticking to a schedule by waking up and falling asleep at the same time every day.
Get loads of sunlight during the day. At night avoid screens as much as possible and dim the artificial lights. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and exercise at least four hours from when you go to sleep.
Don’t do anything other than sleeping on your bed. Lower your room’s temperature at night. Find pillows and a mattress that is comfortable and supports you well. Buy your pets a separate bed or make them sleep elsewhere and avoid sharing your bed with them. If napping during the day is a necessity, try to keep it within forty minutes.
Opt for Specialists and Therapies Other Than your Doctor
Your doctor is your primary defense against Parkinson’s. You should also consider expanding your field of care. There are plenty of specialists and therapies available that can make life easier, more comfortable, and safer for you in a professional manner.
Physical therapy can help with your movement. The aim is to make you move for as long as you can while enhancing your ability to move. No matter which stage of Parkinson’s disease you are in, a physical therapist can be helpful.
To make daily activities easier, opt for occupational therapy. There are tasks we need to do, are expected to do, and want to do. Occupational therapists allow patients to participate in the activities of their everyday life by working with them to improve their ability to perform such tasks.
The task is referred to as an occupation. In many cases, this requires modifying an occupation or the environment (such as designing your kitchen to make it ergonomic) to better support occupational engagement.
If speaking and swallowing are areas you are facing more difficulties in, speech therapy might be the way to go!
If you are in the early stages of Parkinson’s, a speech therapist will focus on maintaining as much of your communication ability as possible. Your volume and speed of speech may be disrupted as well as your breathing, articulation, and facial expressions.
They will develop strategies and exercises to help you with them. By taking into account the different settings you communicate in, a speech therapist will also provide specific advice since these play a crucial part in how your problems affect your everyday life.
It must be quite frustrating if you are facing problems with swallowing and drooling. However, your therapist can help you with your eating and drinking as well. They may recommend small devices/tools and special pieces of equipment which can help as a tool that prompts you to swallow.
Don’t worry too much if communicating becomes very difficult for you. It is the job of a speech therapist to give you advice on ways to cope.
They will not only be able to suggest tools that support spoken communication, but they can also offer a different way of communicating in certain situations. They will then also train you and your family and/or carer to use them.
Art, music, or pet therapy can help you unwind and relax. Your creativity and motor skills will be enhanced and some of your functional independence will restore too if you get your creative juices flowing.
A service dog trained to work with people with Parkinson’s disease can help maintain your balance after walking or alert a family member after a fall. They can be trained further to help you with Parkinson’s movement such as after a fall, standing up from a chair, or while you are experiencing gait freezing.
Be Open to the Idea of Receiving Support From Others
While your closest ones are amazing sources who can be there for you while you tackle Parkinson’s disease, sometimes you may crave the presence of someone going through similar circumstances.
They may help understand certain things you do, or ways you behave, better than those who have not experienced this disease first-hand. You may resort to support group meetings, either virtually or in person. Both comfort and advice can be found there. Speaking to, connecting with, and listening to the struggles of people just like you may help you feel less alone.
They may be an excellent way to lighten your burdens and reduce stress. There are a plethora of different types of support group meetings ranging from larger, formal meetings to casual, close-knitted groups.
You can ask your social worker, nurse, or doctor for local support group suggestions. You may not be comfortable in the first one you attend, however, it is worth looking into more options and trying another out.
Anxiety and depression are fairly common among Parkinson’s patients. If you think the thoughts are getting increasingly harder to manage on your own, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help.
If you are having a difficult time enjoying things you used to enjoy, losing interest, and have frequent periods of anger or sadness, you should consult a mental health professional.
The abovementioned tips can make life with Parkinson’s disease significantly more comfortable and safer. Not everything works for everyone, so you might need some time to figure out what works best for you.
Always remember to consult your doctor before incorporating something new into your daily habits or routine. Some humans care about you, and several people are leading a life with Parkinson’s; even though it may feel like so at times, you are not alone in this.