Parkinson’s disease affects the area of the brain responsible for coordination, and nearly 25 percent of people experience major falls in the first year of living with this condition. While mobility devices such as canes and walkers can be quite effective, seniors with Parkinson’s must also engage in exercises that increase balance and coordination. With comprehensive exercise routines, seniors who have this disease can greatly reduce their risk of slip-and-fall accidents. Here are some of the best coordination exercises to consider.
1. Tai Chi
For aging adults with Parkinson’s, very few exercises are as beneficial as tai chi. This ancient practice is technically a martial art, but it doesn’t involve any physical contact or violence. During a tai chi routine, seniors go through a wide range of motions that activate all the major muscle groups. Tai chi is also considered a form of moving meditation, and it can have a major positive impact on mental and psychological health.
Even seniors in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s can still get the benefits of exercise, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. Milford in-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
Within the last few years, studies have revealed that seniors with Parkinson’s can benefit from “random practice” exercises such as dancing. During these types of exercises, seniors change speed and direction every few moments, which can greatly increase coordination and balance. If your elderly loved one doesn’t know how to dance, see if any local senior centers offer dance classes. Some physical therapy centers offer dance classes as well, and many courses are designed for seniors who have disorders such as Parkinson’s.
Folding paper might not seem like a great way to increase coordination, but this activity can be incredibly beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s. Origami therapy has become very popular in recent years because it can enhance hand-eye coordination, concentration, grip strength, and fine motor skills. As an added bonus, this simple activity can be carried out at home with nothing more than a few pieces of paper and an instructional video.
4. Wall Stretching
Around 90 percent of all people with Parkinson’s experience muscle rigidity at some point, and stretching is one of the most effective ways to alleviate this symptom. Stretching devices such as bands and light weights can be useful, but your loved one doesn’t need anything more than a sturdy wall. To stretch the arms and shoulders, your parent simply needs to place his or her palms on the wall and lean forward for a few seconds. Your loved one can also place the ball of a foot against the wall and lean forward to stretch the calf and hamstring muscles.
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Milford respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
5. Walking in Different Directions
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, walking exercises become very important. In addition to walking forward, your loved one can also carefully step backward or to the side in a straight line. These movements challenge balance as well as coordination. If your loved one is experiencing severe balance issues, he or she might need to place a hand on your shoulder during these exercises.
Seniors with Parkinson’s who need help exercising safely can benefit from the help of a trained professional caregiver. Senior home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Call Home Care Assistance at (203) 444-8575 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.