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National Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Lifestyle Recommendations

By Jessica Deng

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Our list of lifestyle recommendations can help patients with Parkinson’s disease live a fuller and more comfortable life while managing their symptoms.

Although there is currently no single diagnostic tool to definitively diagnose Parkinson’s disease, your primary care physician will look for physical clues during a neurological exam. A Parkinson’s diagnosis is based on a person having at least two of the cardinal symptoms of the disease, including slowness of movement, which must be present along with one or more of the other cardinal symptoms (i.e. – rest tremor, bradykinesia, and loss of postural reflexes).

If you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s important to focus on managing your symptoms and maintaining an active and positive lifestyle. Here are a few of our lifestyle recommendations:

  • Make changes at your own pace
    Forming new routines takes time. Be patient with yourself and accept that improvements don’t happen overnight. Gradually adjust your schedule and try your best to stick to it. Remember that you have resolved to do things differently for a reason, ultimately to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
  • Exercise
    There’s no single better therapy for managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving quality of life. Movement, especially exercises that encourage balance and reciprocal patterns can reduce the progression of the disease. 
  • Healthy diet
    A healthy diet is also important for managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving overall health. The diet should be low in trans fats and should be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies.
  • Use assistive devices
    Modern assistive devices can help you perform common tasks made difficult by the symptoms of Parkinson’s. From specially-designed shoes to self-stabilizing dining utensils, there are many options. Speak with your doctor about which ones might be right for you.
  • Ask for help from your support system
    When you first begin to experience symptoms and receive a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, you may feel alone. Ask your family or a caregiver to help you achieve your goals. Turning to the people who care about you is a great way to stay accountable and make progress.
  • Care in the privacy of your home
    Finding the right caregiver critical to better health outcomes. The search process can be daunting but LifeWorx can help. Contact us and speak to one of our Care Consultants to learn more about finding the best care for you or your loved one.

Developing and maintaining relationships with experts that specialize in Parkinson’s disease can make life easier and more enjoyable. The Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, founded in 2008 by Dr. Doreen Sutherland, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. “We are excited to bring the Parkinson’s community together in a way that they feel most comfortable,” CEO Sara Grivetti said, “Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s feels strongly that we need to empower people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers through high-quality education, therapeutic and support programs, further strengthened with personalized Care Advising and resource information for the area in which they live.”

Explore LifeWorx’ in-home elder care services.