Helping a Loved One with Parkinson's Minimize Fall Risk

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Parkinson’s and Falling: Safety Tips for Seniors

By admin, 8:00 am on January 31, 2014

The risk for fall-related injuries increases with age; however, seniors with Parkinson’s often experience tremors, muscular stiffness and a loss of balance that all lead to a higher risk for falls. To help ensure the safety of a loved one with Parkinson’s, Home Care Assistance of Scottsdale presents the top safety tips that will help to reduce the risk of falling while still supporting the independence of Parkinson’s patients.

  • Understand Medication Side Effects – Parkinson’s patients should always discuss any new medications with their physician to determine if there may be side effects that could place them at risk for falls. Fatigue, dizziness and gastrointestinal disturbances could all play a role in the likelihood of falling. Understanding these side effects can enable a senior to implement strategies designed to protect them from falling. It’s also important to have a trusted live-in caregiver or family member to closely monitor medications on a daily basis, as those with Parkinson’s could forget the proper time to take prescriptions.
  • Increase Balance with Exercise – For many seniors, daily exercise is an effective strategy that promotes better overall health in addition to a reduced fall risk. Seniors with Parkinson’s may choose to focus on gentle exercises designed to build strength and increase balance such as yoga or Tai Chi. Many of these exercises can be modified according to a senior’s level of physical ability and support such as a caregiver, trainer or even a chair can be added in for extra balance.
  • Set Up a Safe Home Environment – In a senior adult’s home, careful planning of the layout can reduce the risk of falls. Slippery areas such as bathrooms and kitchens should have non-skid floors installed. Grab rails can be placed in bathrooms near showers and toilets so that a senior has support during movement. Although a senior’s walking path should always remain clear, it is also possible to arrange furniture so that it forms sides along the path that a senior adult can use for additional support, creating an adaptive home environment that promotes independence.

By understanding the most common fall risks associated with Parkinson’s, seniors can avoid injuries caused by falling while enjoying the independence that comes with being able to move freely throughout their day.

If you or an aging loved one are no longer able to carry out certain tasks as a result of the disease, learn more about Parkinson’s care in Scottsdale. Caregivers are highly trained in Parkinson’s care and understand how to help minimize symptoms while promoting independence. Call 480-448-6215 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation.