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7 Ways to Make Your Home Safer

There are several things you can do to improve your daily routine while living with Parkinson’s. Many of these changes include small adjustments and renovations to your home, which should be your safe place now more than ever.

To help you with all these overwhelming changes, we’ve put together a list of tips based on suggestions from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. These tips will help you improve your life and safety while living and coping with Parkinson’s symptoms.

1. Don’t change all at once: It’s important that you don’t change the whole scene all at the same time; do it at a slow pace and start by making small changes.

Remove potential obstacles that could be dangerous for someone who has a hard time walking and balancing on their own. If you have big, fluffy rugs that could become a tripping hazard, consider moving them out of main rooms or walkways. Don’t forget to always leave space in between pieces of furniture, so that your loved one can walk freely and safely around the perimeter.

2. Improve the lighting in your household: Some people may not like having a lot of light around them, but having a well-lit house can be very beneficial for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

It makes navigating each room easier and helps avoid undesired bumps and stumbles. If you can, install touch lights and lights that are sensitive to movement and sound.

3. Give your bathroom a makeover: Make sure you have a non-slip mat in the shower or bath tub.

If you can afford to upgrade your toilet, an elevated toilet seat is something several patients’ agree makes their lives a little bit easier. The extra elevation can make it easier to stand back up. Also install safety rails to help patients get up.

4. Switch your chairs to some that might be easier to get out of: Adjustable recliners or chairs with straight backs, firm seats and arm rests are the perfect choice.

Firm cushions can add height and help with standing up, as well.

5. Plan on installing railings along walls and hallways: Those living with Parkinson’s disease may have trouble walking or even just keeping their balance. To help with the mobility of patients, install railings and supports along the walls and hallways of the house.

If you can afford these home improvements, invest in them. They can be extremely helpful with improving balance and preventing falls.

6. Plan on making more significant renovations: Even though it might be expensive, if you can afford to, try and adapt your house as much as possible.

Building ramps, stair lifts and wider doorways can make an enormous difference to someone living with Parkinson’s.

7. Don’t forget to invest in comfort: Rest is very important and one can only rest well if they feel comfortable. Make sure your bedroom is the most comfortable room in the house; invest in your mattress, bedding, window treatments.

 

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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10 Tips for Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers

Being a caregiver for a loved one who has Parkinson’s disease can be very stressful. It’s difficult to watch someone close to you suffer and you want to be able to do your best for them, but it’s important to remember that you also have to take care of yourself.

MORE: Willie Geist and Ryan Reynolds team up with Michael J. Fox to beat Parkinson’s

We’ve compiled a list of practical tips for caregivers of patients with Parkinson’s disease to hopefully make their lives easier and to help ease the stress. We’ve based our advice on information from the Michael J Fox Foundation and Partners in Parkinson’s.

1. Be organized: Keep all of your loved one’s medical notes, insurance, records, appointments, telephone numbers of clinics and doctors, and medication details in a folder that can be easily accessed at any time. Take this folder with you to all appointments so you always have everything on hand.

2. Look after yourself: In order to be able to look after your loved one, you need to be physically and emotionally well. Take time off — it’s important to unwind and de-stress. Ask other family members and friends to help out or look into hiring professional care. Spend some time doing something you enjoy and take your mind off things for a few hours.

3. Understand the medical insurance: Make sure you fully understand your loved one’s medical insurance policy — what it does and doesn’t cover and how to apply for reimbursements of medical costs.

MORE: Mileha Soneji has designed some ingenious life hacks for Parkinson’s patients

4. Join a support group: Find out if there are any active support groups in your local area. If not, then look online for a support group for caregivers of Parkinson’s disease patients. This will give you both practical and emotional support, and you will be able to ask advice and share your experience with others who are going through the same thing.

5. Educate yourself about Parkinson’s disease: Keep up to date with all the latest news about the condition, read up about symptoms and talk to your loved one’s doctor about what to expect with the progression of the disease.

6. Expect changes in the relationship: Mood swings and depression are common in Parkinson’s disease and your loved one may even become resentful. It’s difficult to deal with these changes in the relationship, so open and honest communication is critical. You will both need time to adjust to your new roles in the relationship.

MORE: What is Parkinson’s disease? Find out more about the disease’s pathology

7. Observe symptoms and report any changes: As your loved one’s carer, you will probably be the first person to notice any changes in behavior or worsening of symptoms. Report these to your loved one’s doctors as they occur so they can be addressed as soon as possible.

8. Encourage independence: Try not to do too much for your loved one, they will want to hold onto their independence for as long as possible. Ask if they need help and respect their answer.

9. Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with both caregivers’ rights and disability rights. Find out if you are entitled to any disability or carer’s benefits.

10. Talk about the future: Although this is a difficult topic to broach, it’s important that you understand what your loved one wants further down the line. You need to discuss wills, treatment options and end-of-life decisions.

MORE: Simple balance and stride exercises for Parkinson’s disease patients

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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English Rugby Star Opens Up About Father’s Battle With Parkinson’s

Retired English rugby star, Mike Tindall, appeared on British television to talk about his father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. Talking to Good Morning Britain, Tindall explained that his father Philip had been experiencing symptoms of the disease for about 18 months before finally seeing a doctor.

MORE: Parkinson’s disease symptoms: what is “freezing”?

According to an article in the Daily Mail, 71-year-old Philip Tindall was diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago and is now cared for by his wife, Linda. Like Mike, Philip played rugby before becoming a banker, and the two would often spend days in the garden throwing a ball around. Mike shares how frustrated his father is that he’s not able to play with his granddaughters.

Mike, who’s married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Philips, has organized an annual celebrity golf day with proceeds going towards Parkinson’s disease charities in the U.K.

MORE: How does Parkinson’s disease affect the brain?

Parkinsons’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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American Parkinson’s Disease Association Builds Online Community

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association has partnered with Smart Patients to build an online community for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.

MORE: Parkinson’s disease symptoms: How to manage “freezing”

The platform is free to use for people who have the disease, along with their caregivers and their families. It allows each group to reach out to others around the country who are going through similar experiences.

Online communities are very supportive and often offer great sources of emotional support and information about the disease, including new treatments and research projects. The platform will help the APDA reach out to more people with Parkinson’s in the U.S. and empower them to improve their care and treatment, while offering a safe place for people to connect with others and share best practices and advice.

MORE: 10 benefits of having a service dog when you have Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

Predicting Parkinson’s Disease Through Sleep Disorders

In this video from (the) Gen, Associate Professor Simon Lewis from the Brain and Mind Institute in Australia talks about how Parkinson’s disease can be predicted in patients through sleep disorders.

MORE: The role of dopamine in the development of Parkinson’s disease

Lewis explains that patients often present sleep disorders where they may be thrashing and kicking out in their sleep before they are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He says that in around 80 percent of cases where people over the age of 50 have this sleep disorder, they go on to develop Parkinson’s disease over the next 15 years. He also talks about how losing sense of smell and constipation can be precursors to the disease as well.

MORE: 10 early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

9 Ways to Manage Brain Fog

One of the most frustrating symptoms of living with a chronic illness is brain fog. There are medications to treat many symptoms of chronic diseases, but sadly there isn’t yet a pill that takes away brain fog. However, there are ways to deal with it so patients can minimize its effects and lead a normal life.

We’ve put together a list of 10 ways to help manage brain fog, with help from princessinthetower.org, newlifeoutlook.com, and Web MD.

Write Things Down
Everyone forgets things now and then, but having brain fog often means forgetting important dates and occasions. Keep a to-do list and a calendar in a highly visible location, or use an online diary to keep track of what each day holds. There are many mobile apps that can also help with organization.

Exercise the Body
Exercise offers a chance to turn off from all the usual things that occupy the mind. It can also improve sleep, which can in turn improve cognitive skills.

Exercise the Mind
Take the time to do thought-challenging exercises like crosswords, sudoku and jigsaw puzzles, or learn a new language. In addition, maintaining a hobby will keep the mind focused on something positive.

MORE: 10 benefits of having a service or therapy dog when you have Parkinson’s

Pick the Right Time of Day
Whether a morning lark or night owl, we all have certain times when we feel more alert. Choose a time each day when your concentration is at its highest to tackle difficult and complex tasks.

Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet
Eat lots of good fats known for brain health such as nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and omega-3-rich foods.

Get Plenty of Rest
Quality sleep and restorative naps (when appropriate) can dramatically improve cognitive health. Try to keep to a routine bedtime and waking time, even on the weekend, to promote a good sleep pattern.

MORE: How you can manage fatigue with corrective stretching exercises

Go Easy on Yourself
Don’t overdo it. Ask for help when needed and try to rest as much as possible to conserve energy. Participate in calming activities like taking a stroll through a peaceful spot, reading a book, or listening to music.

Organize Your Home and Workspace
Reorganize your living and working space so that everything you need regularly is easily accessible. This can help conserve energy and provide peace of mind.

Plan Ahead
If brain fog is worse first thing in the morning, laying out clothes the night before will be one less thing to have to stress over in the morning. Sort meds into a daily medication box so you know when you’re up to date and can easily make sure you haven’t forgotten to take them (or don’t take them more than once).

MORE: New Microsoft watch can quiet Parkinson’s tremors

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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11 Facts About Parkinson’s Disease You May Not Know

Most people know of Parkinson’s disease and have a good idea of its symptoms, but very few know much more than that about this progressive illness. Since Parkinson’s disease awareness month is around the corner (April), we’ve put together some simple stats and facts that you can share near and far.

With help from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, everydayhealth.com, and ecaring.com, here are 11 facts about the disease most people don’t know. (Some of them may even surprise you!)

It’s a movement disorder. 
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease whereby cells responsible for producing dopamine die off in the substantia nigra area of the brain. Dopamine is essential for movement as it acts as a transmitter for signals from the brain to other parts of the body.

Who found it?
Parkinson’s disease was discovered by British surgeon Dr. James Parkinson in 1817.

How prevalent is it?
Approximately one million people have Parkinson’s disease in the U.S. and there are around 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Most patients are middle-aged. 
The average age of someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is 56. Around 4 percent of Parkinson’s patients are diagnosed before the age of 50.

MORE: What it’s like getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 34

When is it considered young-onset Parkinson’s disease?
It’s considered young-onset if diagnosed before the age of 40. The youngest recorded case of Parkinson’s was a 12-year-old patient.

How is it diagnosed?
There is no blood test or scan that can diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Doctors look for four classic symptoms of the disease before reaching a diagnosis: tremors, rigidity in the wrist and elbow joints, lack or slowness of movement, and an unstable posture.

It affects mostly men. 
Parkinson’s disease is twice as likely to affect men than women.

There’s no known cause. 
There is no known cause of Parkinson’s disease although a family history of the disease will increase your risk. Researchers think environmental factors such as smoking, pollution, heavy metals, medications and illegal drugs may be responsible for the onset of the disease. Head trauma, brain inflammation, and stroke have also been associated with the disease.

MORE: Four possible causes of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is expensive. 
Treating patients with Parkinson’s disease costs the U.S. around $25 billion a year. The average patient will need $2,500 worth of medication each year and therapeutic surgery could cost up to $100,000.

How do you treat it? 
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease but there are medications that can help patients with the symptoms. Patients can also undergo deep brain stimulation where electrical current is used to help block tremors and other movement symptoms of the disease.

There’s a correlation between Parkinson’s and depression. 
Dopamine is also associated with mood as well as movement. It’s estimated that more than half of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from depression and around 40 percent suffer from anxiety.

MORE: Treating depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s disease patients

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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10 Organizations That Support Parkinson’s Disease Patients and Their Families

If you’re struggling with Parkinson’s disease or know someone who is, it’s incredibly helpful to have a list of organizations that can support you or your loved one along the way. The following is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will prove to be a helpful resource.

1. National Parkinson’s Foundation helps patients actively enjoy life through expert care and treatment research.

2. American Parkinson’s Disease Association provides support, education, and research to help patients and caregivers live a fuller life.

3. Michael J. Fox Foundation is helping to raise money for much-needed research to help find a cure. From ways you can get involved to a great blog chock-full of Parkinson’s-related information, the foundation is a wonderful resource.

MORE: Seven things to know about deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease

4. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation provides information including news about the disease, information about upcoming events, insight into the latest research, and education about what to expect.

5. European Parkinson’s Disease Association advocates for the rights and needs of patients and their families.

6. The Davis Phinney Foundation is committed to supporting research programs that help deliver inspiration, information and tools that will enable people living with Parkinson’s to have more control in managing their disease.

MORE: Is blurred vision an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease?

7. The Parkinson Alliance is the umbrella organization for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk which takes place every spring in New York City. They also sponsor Team Parkinson, a fundraising racing event. You can find current news and information about research projects on their site.

8. Partners in Parkinson’s has a program that connects patients and caregivers to an advocate who will listen and offer advice and support at no cost. This is just one of the services you can find through Partners in Parkinson’s.

9. Caring.com has a support group for caregivers, family and friends of those with Parkinson’s disease. No subject is off-limits in this forum.

10. The National Parkinson Foundation has a site specifically geared to caregivers. They help carers navigate the emotional, financial, and physical challenges they may face caring for someone with Parkinson’s.

Having resources that help keep you informed, and offer support and encouragement to patients and their loved ones is so important. These are just 10 of the hundreds of organizations out there that are available to you. You can search online or visit your local library for more.

MORE: 11 facts about Parkinson’s disease you may not know

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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8 Common Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. To date, there is no cure for the condition, but there are medications and therapies available to address some of the symptoms and improve quality of life for patients.

Here are eight of the main drugs and therapies used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic:

MORE: Discover 10 early signs of Parkinson’s disease

1. Carbidopa-levodopa: Levodopa is a naturally occurring chemical which can enter the brain and be converted to dopamine when combined with carbidopa. The carbidopa also prevents the levodopa from converting into dopamine before it enters the brain.

The is one of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s although after long-term use, the effects start to fluctuate.

Some people may experience side effects such as nausea, feeling lightheaded, and making sudden involuntary movements.

2. Carbidopa-levodopa infusion: In 2015, the FDA approved Duopa, which is a combination of carbidopa and levodopa in a gel form which is administered via a feeding tube into the small intestine.

Duopa is generally given to patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease whose response to carbidopa-levodopa is varied. The drug is infused continuously so the level of the drugs remains constant.

The risks associated with Duopa are infections at the site of the feeding tube and the tube falling out.

3. Dopamine agonists: Dopamine agonist mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain. They are generally not as effective as levodopa but the effects last longer and they can be used in conjunction with levodopa to counter any fluctuation in efficiency.

These medications can be administered through a patch, oral medications or as an injection. The side effects are also nausea and lightheadedness, but may also cause drowsiness, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and hypersexuality — which will need to be addressed by a doctor.

MORE: Find out about the four possible causes of Parkinson’s disease here.

4. MAO-B inhinitors: Medications such as selegiline and rasagiline help to prevent dopamine breaking down in the brain by releasing monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) enzymes.

Generally, these types of medications should not be taken in conjunction with certain narcotics or antidepressants as occasionally patients will suffer from severe reactions. Side effects of MAO-B inhibitors include insomnia and nausea and if taken with carbidopa-levodopa they can also cause hallucinations.

5. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors: These types of medications help to prolong the effects of levodopa by blocking brain enzymes that deplete dopamine.

The side effects are the same as taking levodopa, mainly involuntary movements and diarrhea.

6. Anticholinergics: Traditionally, anticholinergics have been used over the years to help combat tremors commonly experienced in Parkinson’s disease patients.

However, side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, memory loss, constipation, and urination problems are often more troublesome than the tremors.

MORE: Seven ways to make your home safer for people with Parkinson’s disease

7. Amantadine: Amantadine can be prescribed to patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s to offer relief from their symptoms. In can also be taken in combination with carbidopa-levodopa in the later stages of the disease to help control side effects such as involuntary movements.

8. Deep brain stimulation: Most regularly used in advanced cases of Parkinson’s disease for patients who no longer respond to levodopa, deep brain stimulation involves the insertion of electrodes in the brain which are connected to a generator implanted in the chest area. The electrical pulses sent from the generator to the electrodes can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The surgery carries serious risks such as brain hemorrhage, stroke, and infection. In addition, patients may need the equipment adjusting or parts replaced which involves more surgery.

MORE: Discover seven ways to help you self-manage Parkinson’s disease

 Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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7 Hand Exercises to Help People With Parkinson’s Disease

In this video from Invigorate Physical Therapy and Wellness, a physical therapist named Madi demonstrates some simple hand and wrist exercises that may be useful for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

MORE: Boxing classes prove a big hit with Parkinson’s disease patients

The hand and wrist exercises are designed to help Parkinson’s disease patients with fine motor skills like handwriting and dressing, as well as improving flexibility and dexterity. Madi advises that people do the exercises once a day for a period of two weeks to see if they see any improvement in their hand and wrist strength and dexterity. She also recommends patients try to write before and after completing the exercises to see if they notice a difference.

To help warm your hands up for the day ahead, Madi suggests doing the exercises first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

MORE: Three causes of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease

Parkinsons’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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