6 Therapeutic Activities for Seniors with Parkinson’s

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Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the entire body and is caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain. Though there’s no cure for the disease, therapy can help by strengthening the body to compensate for the symptoms of the disease. Here are a few Parkinson’s therapy ideas to consider.

Stimulating the Ear Canal

Gentle stimulation of the ear canal may reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. A study done by researchers at the University of Kent found both motor and non-motor symptoms were relieved after two months of receiving twice-daily ear canal stimulation. Most surprisingly, improvements continued for weeks after the therapy concluded. Researchers believe regular ear canal stimulation alleviates neurological symptoms by correcting balance issues.

Dancing

Balance problems are common in those with Parkinson’s disease. Older adults may have a difficult time walking, causing them to fall and become injured. Dancing regularly may help. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine researched how regular dancing affected those with Parkinson’s disease. The study found that participants who regularly danced showed improvements in both balance and gait. With mobility issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, activities such as dancing can be helpful for seniors. 

Doing Yoga

Any type of exercise is beneficial for those with Parkinson’s disease, but yoga may be especially helpful. Yoga focuses on deep breathing while going through a series of poses. These exercises can reduce tremors, decrease muscle rigidity, and strengthen lung function in those with Parkinson’s. The Parkinson Research Foundation recommends yoga as a helpful exercise for those with the condition, as learning to control breathing during yoga can help older adults feel calmer and more confident when moving.

Singing

An estimated 60 to 80 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease experience voice impairments, which may include a raspy voice, reduced vocal intensity, and changes in pitch. Singing is an effective form of voice therapy that may help. A study done by researchers at Iowa State University found that after two months of regular singing, participants experienced improvements in swallow control, pitch, and vocal loudness.

Riding a Bicycle

Though it may seem counterintuitive to encourage older adults with Parkinson’s disease to ride bicycles, exercise has been found to have dramatic effects on the symptoms of the condition. A study from the Cleveland Clinic found participants who cycled regularly experienced significant improvement in their symptoms. Researchers believe this may be because cycling alleviates the kinesthetic deficits often seen in seniors with Parkinson’s.

Playing a Musical Instrument

Music is an extremely effective therapy for those with Parkinson’s disease. One common symptom of the condition is tremors, and playing a musical instrument strengthens the fingers and hands. Many seniors report having fewer tremors when playing instruments they love, such as the piano. Listening to others play may also help older adults with Parkinson’s by boosting their mood and reducing their risk of developing depression, a common problem in seniors with Parkinson’s disease.

Contact Home Care Assistance for Assistance Caring for a Senior with Parkinson’s

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with the everyday tasks of life, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care.

Tampa, FL, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality elderly care their loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age. Learn more about our Parkinson’s care services and the benefits of our in-home senior care. Call us today to speak to one of our care managers.

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