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With as many as one million people in the U.S. living with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the effect is staggering: greater than that of Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s combined. If you or your loved one is facing the challenges of Parkinson’s disease, the following tips might help.

Nutrition: A well-balanced diet, high in antioxidants from fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, helps reduce cell loss and damage in a person with Parkinson’s. Consuming antioxidants, like those found in blueberries, broccoli, spinach, green tea, beans, and certain nuts, helps fight the oxidative stress that damages cells.

Chewing/Swallowing: People with Parkinson’s often experience difficulties chewing and swallowing. Anyone caring for a person with Parkinson’s should learn the Heimlich maneuver in case the person begins to choke.

Fall Prevention: Parkinson’s patients often have a difficult time walking and balancing, so it is important to modify the home environment in order to prevent the risk of falling. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstructions throughout the home such as doorsills and throw rugs, is a good start.

Anxiety and Depression: Combating depression and anxiety is a large part of the Parkinson’s battle. Watch closely for signs of depression, and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Medications: Parkinson’s medications can have multiple side effects and can affect a person in different ways. Some medications may cause hallucinations or nightmares, for example. Be sure the physician tells you about all the expected side effects of medications so you or your caregivers know what to expect.

AAging Better In-Home Care’s caregivers are experienced in the unique needs of those with Parkinson’s disease and can assist you or your loved one with individualized assistance from as little as 2 hours through around-the-clock live-in home care. Contact us online, or call us at the number nearest you to get started: 208-777-0308 in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls; 208-263-7889 in Sandpoint; 208-784-1505 in Kellogg; or toll-free at 866-464-2344.

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