Living Strong with Parkinson’s Disease

Recommendations Include Good Nutrition & Exercise

When the diagnosis is Parkinson’s disease, you’re likely concerned about your loved one’s future and quality of life. A progressive illness of the central nervous system, Parkinson’s affects muscles and movement and damages the system of nerves that the brain uses to tell the body’s muscles what to do.

The early symptoms are subtle and usually progress gradually. Tremors, stiffness, balance issues, coordination problems, fatigue, constipation, depression and memory loss are just some of the symptoms people with Parkinson’s experience.

While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medications and medical procedures can help manage symptoms. Another important way to improve symptoms is through a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and exercise. An active, positive lifestyle is vital to a better quality of life with Parkinson’s.

Keep Moving

Exercise is considered one of the most powerful treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Consistent exercise can slow progression of the disease and make a big difference in mobility.

Several research studies have shown that walking, strength training or Tai Chi can improve mobility, balance and coordination in those with Parkinson’s disease. Swimming, cycling, dancing, yoga and even boxing are also beneficial for both physical and mental health.

Boost Nutrition

A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables increases fiber and can alleviate constipation, a common symptom of people with Parkinson’s. Warm liquids also can stimulate bowel movements.

Antioxidants also take center stage to slow degeneration and improve cell health and neuron function in people with Parkinson’s. Blueberries, spinach, salmon, green tea and even dark chocolate are all rich in antioxidants.

Drinking lots of water and caffeine-free beverages reduces muscle cramping, another symptom of Parkinson’s. Dishes with the spice turmeric — found in yellow mustard — or drinking tonic water can help with cramping, too.

Music as Medicine

Researchers are finding music is good for the soul and mind. Evidence shows music can help preserve and even enhance cognitive function. Every person — every brain — has rhythm.

In people with Parkinson’s, the brain rhythm that controls movement gets off track. Because we all have inherent rhythm that responds to the rhythm of music, music can benefit people with Parkinson’s. The rhythm of music can even ease a tremor or break a freezing spell.

Some studies have also shown that music can improve memory, alertness, cognition, and the ability to communicate and express emotions, as well as lessen depression in people with Parkinson’s.

In addition, when we listen or play music, the body releases more dopamine, the brain chemical lacking in people with Parkinson’s disease.

These are all good reasons to pick up an instrument, sing in a choir or listen to a magnificent orchestra.

Fostering a Healthy, Active Lifestyle

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, some symptoms become more severe. It’s important to have a team of caregivers in place to ensure safety and make life more enjoyable for your loved one. This team may include a neurologist, nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and pharmacist, among others.

To make sure your loved one with Parkinson’s has the most opportunities to stay active and healthy, consider McKnight Place. Nestled on lushly-landscaped grounds, our beautiful community provides a full spectrum of assisted-living services for older adults who want to remain independent but also receive additional attention and care.

For residents’ convenience, physical, occupational, speech and restorative therapies are available onsite, along with a 24-hour licensed nursing staff. McKnight Place also provides transportation to medical appointments as needed.

Residents at McKnight Place enjoy a luxurious, comfortable community with exceptional personalized services, including delicious, dietitian-approved and chef-prepared meals combined with hundreds of activities, events and experiences each month.

The focus at McKnight Place is on a healthy, active lifestyle that starts with a variety of exercise classes including yoga, Tai Chi and dancing, as well as a walking club.

Residents also reap the benefits of music. A piano is always available for residents to play, while concerts, music therapy, karaoke and other opportunities to sing are plentiful every week.

McKnight Place offers families peace of mind while residents enjoy a full, enriching life the way they choose.

Come See For Yourself

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, please call 314-993-3333 (Assisted Living & Memory Care) or 314-993-2221 (Skilled Nursing).

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