Exercise & Nutrition Suggestions for Aging Adults with Parkinson’s

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The degenerative nature of Parkinson’s disease can leave older adults unmotivated when they’re unable to complete or become fearful of completing certain activities of daily living. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle plays a large role in helping seniors living with Parkinson’s maintain independence and abilities while enhancing overall mood. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Here are some key diet and exercise tips that can help aging adults with Parkinson’s. 

Diet Tips 

  • Save high-protein food for later in the day. Levodopa, a drug commonly prescribed for Parkinson’s, contains an amino acid and fights other proteins the body is trying to absorb. A high-protein meal could affect how efficiently the medication works. Choose carbohydrates and vegetables for lunch and save cheese, fish, and meat for dinner.
  • Control consumption of foods high in the amino acid tyramine. Dried meats, alcohol (specifically red wine), soups, certain cheeses, and sauerkraut are a few examples of foods that contain high levels of this amino acid. These foods can have negative reactions to monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are commonly used to treat Parkinson’s. The combination can cause hyperpyrexia (fever with extreme elevation of body temperature), nausea, and psychosis.
  • Adjust the diet if swallowing difficulties develop. Food should be soft or pureed and liquids thickened to decrease the risk of inhaling fluid into the lungs. Your loved one should be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist to determine the best treatment option.

A professional caregiver can prepare nutritious meals customized for your parent’s treatment plan. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Anchorage, AK, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Exercise Tips 

  • Enhance balance and motor coordination by walking or swimming. These activities can help seniors feel better and maintain balance, strength, and flexibility. They can also minimize feelings of depression and actively slow the progression of the disease.
  • Stretch to relieve stiffness in joints. Changes in posture and rounding of the shoulders are characteristics of Parkinson’s. Gentle yoga poses and exercises as well as routine stretching can decrease tension and stiffness, enhance movement, and offset changes in posture, providing additional comfort for your loved one.
  • Increase stamina and endurance with breathing exercises. Seniors with Parkinson’s tire more easily when posture issues and loss of chest muscle affect breathing. Breathing exercises strengthen the diaphragm, increasing oxygen flow.

Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to help your loved one lead a healthy lifestyle and reduce some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Anchorage homecare services. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (907) 770-0907 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.


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