Essential Facts About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects physical movement and eventually cognitive function. It has been linked to low dopamine levels in the brain. The disease develops on a gradual basis, and often begins with a hand tremor that is almost undetectable at first. Parkinson's Disease awarenessHowever, even though shaking and tremors are the most recognized sign of the disorder, in many cases it also causes a slowing of movement and stiffness in the muscles. The disease typically begins in middle or late life, and it rarely afflicts young adults. The average age of initial manifestation is 65, and the risk for developing Parkinson’s increases with age.

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is not yet known and is not considered hereditary, but having a close relative with Parkinson’s may slightly increase the chance of developing it after age 60. For reasons unknown, men are at a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease than women. The sooner treatment is sought, the better the chances of delaying the progression of the disease.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary considerably from one individual to the next. Early symptoms are often mild and typically go unnoticed and are sometimes misdiagnosed. Initial symptoms usually occur on only one side of the body, and even after both sides are affected, the side where the symptoms first manifested usually remains the worst.

In addition to shaking and tremors, something referred to as a “pill rolling tremor” is quite common. This is a back-and-forth rubbing of the forefinger and thumb and typically occurs when the hand is at rest.

Over time, the ability to move fast is lost, which makes simple tasks time-consuming and difficult. A person may be unable to stand up quickly, and his or her steps may become shorter and stilted. Some patients described this symptom as feeling like their feet are anchored to the floor.

In a variation of the disease called Rigid Parkinson’s, muscle stiffness may be the first symptom to manifest. This sometimes leads to a longer period between initial symptoms and diagnosis, as there are a high number of causes for muscle stiffness, most of which are much more common than Parkinson’s disease.

Impaired balance and posture is common among Parkinson’s patients, as well. A stooped posture eventually emerges, and it is usually at this point that the “Parkinson’s shuffle” manifests. As its name implies, the person appears to be shuffling his or her feet across the floor, rather than the normal tandem gait that is seen in healthy individuals. Stiffly hanging arms rather than a normal swing is another common sign of the disease.

Often, a masked expression appears, which is noticeable to others. Speech problems occur as well, and these may manifest as stilted talking, slurred speech, or even speaking in a jumbled fashion. Handwriting may appear particularly small and writing may have a distinct wavy appearance. Additional symptoms are listed below which almost always worsen over time:

• Difficulty swallowing
• Depression
• Difficulty thinking and reasoning
• Constipation
• Fatigue
• Bladder problems such as difficulty urinating.
• Changes in blood pressure
• Muscle and joint pain
• Sexual dysfunction

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease; however, symptoms can be controlled or reduced by specific drugs. In certain cases of advanced Parkinson’s, surgery may be recommended.

Medications

The medications prescribed for Parkinson’s disease were developed to increase dopamine, as dopamine deficiencies play a major role in the development of the disease. Significant improvement is seen in most patients shortly after beginning treatment. Below are the most common drugs prescribed for Parkinson’s:

• Carbidopa-levodopa

• Duopa

• Dopamine agonists

• MAO-B inhibitors

• Catechol-O-methyltransferase

• Tolcapone (Tasmar)

• Anticholinergics

• Amantadine

Surgery

In cases of advanced Parkinson’s disease, treatment may include surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation–DBS. This is considered one of the newest treatments for the disorder and has had good outcomes regarding lessening the severity and frequency of symptoms. During the procedure, surgeons implant electrodes into a specific area of the brain and a generator implanted near the collarbone sends impulses to the electrodes which then travel to the brain. Sustained relief from symptoms is often experienced by those who undergo this surgery, although it does not completely stop the progression of the disease.

Occupational Therapy

Some doctors also recommend occupational therapy. Physical therapists offer a wealth of advice to make life easier for Parkinson’s patients. Such therapy is typically focused on stretching, balancing and tips on how to avoid falls, which is of vital importance. Speech language pathologists are sometimes consulted as well, who can suggest exercises to improve speech problems. Although Parkinson’s cannot be cured, the appropriate treatment is available. Therefore, anyone experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease should contact a medical professional for evaluation.

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Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Cancer

Reduce Cancer Risks with a Healthier Lifestyle

It is impossible to guarantee that you will never develop cancer. elderly couple with healthy lifestyle reduces risk of cancerHowever, you can significantly reduce your risk with simple lifestyle changes.

Limit Or Avoid Alcohol

When you drink excessively, you increase your risk of cancer. Studies show even moderate drinking can increase the risk. Women should never have more than one drink per day, and men should not have more than two. You may be able to prevent cancers related to alcohol by not drinking at all.

Make Smart Choices In Your Sex Life

Most people have only heard of human papillomavirus during the last few years. This virus can cause cervical cancer, but it can also cause other cancers in men as well as women.

As the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, practice safe sex. You can choose between a monogamous relationship with your lifelong partner, or use condoms every time you have sexual relations.

Avoid Tobacco Products

It is extremely difficult to quit smoking, even when you know the risks. Lung cancer is not the only cancer connected to smoking. The carcinogens can cause other types of cancer, too.

The risks are not limited to cigarettes. You also increase your risk of cancer if you smoke cigars or use smoke-free tobacco products. If you cannot easily give up your habit, ask your doctor for advice.

Protect Yourself From UV Rays

The most common cause of skin cancer is too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. Prevention can be easy if you take it seriously. Limit your exposure to direct sunlight, and use a good sunblock whenever you are outdoors. Avoid tanning booths, tanning salons, and sunlamps.

You can also reduce your risk of skin cancer by monitoring your skin for changes. If you notice changes in moles, or skin discolorations that were not present before, report it to your doctor immediately.

Exercise Every Day

Moderate exercise on a daily basis can decrease your risk of cancer, including colon cancer and lung cancer. Choose an activity you enjoy, and do it every day.

Make Changes In Your Diet

Foods that contain antioxidants can reduce your cancer risk by keeping your cells healthy. Berries and cruciferous vegetables should be in your daily diet.

Your risk of lung cancer can be reduced with certain superfoods. Apples, garlic, red peppers, fish, spinach, and green tea are some examples.

Exercise moderation if you eat processed meats and red meats. Choose healthier products for your daily protein.

Know Your Environmental Risks

It may be impossible to eliminate environmental risks entirely, but knowing the risks in your environment can help you make changes. Purchase a test kit to test the levels of radon in your home. If the level is high, the problem can be corrected. Everyone in your household can have a lower risk of lung cancer.

Second, learn about environmental risks at your workplace. You may have an increased risk of cancer if you are exposed to certain chemicals, dust, or fumes at work.

Third, choose chemical-free products for your home and personal use. Toxic chemicals can be found in products ranging from cleaning supplies to personal grooming products and cosmetics.

Chemical-free products can reduce your own cancer risk and keep others in your home environment healthy, too. You can also consider the benefits outside your home and family. If you use toxic chemicals, residue that is rinsed away ends up in the waterways, soil, and land. When you choose natural products, it is the eco-friendly choice.

Avoid Sleep Deprivation

When you sleep, your body heals. While this is important for every part of your body, it helps your cells stay healthy. A full night’s sleep every night can reduce your risk of cancer.

Maintain Your Ideal Weight

Obesity can lead to many health risks, including cancer. A balanced diet and daily exercise can help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight. If you are having difficulty losing weight, ask your physician for advice. He can recommend a healthy approach to weight loss.

Know Your Family’s Medical History

If cancer runs in your family, discuss it with your doctor. He may advise tests, monitoring, or additional changes so your risks can be reduced.

These lifestyle changes can help you prevent cancer. You can enjoy a healthier life.

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How to Choose the Best Smartphone for a Senior Citizen

How do you determine the best smartphone for seniors? Their priorities related to a mobile phone are somewhat different from a teenager. smartphoneThey are not looking for hours of entertainment, gaming and chatting through various social media apps. Their first priority is to be able to talk to their loved ones, friends and colleagues. They do not want to fumble with multiple options just to make a call or send a message. You have to choose a smartphone that has the right size, features, and functions for seniors. Following are some important things to consider when buying such a smartphone.

Two Types of Cell Phones for Seniors

The first type of cell phones for seniors has the small form factor, large physical buttons, and a small screen. It is suitable for senior citizens who may find new age smartphones difficult to use. They do not want to fumble with apps and tapping functions. The second type of cell phones is usual latest smartphones that most people now use. The only difference is that you have to choose a smartphone that will be easiest to use by a senior citizen.

Specific Problems Faced by a Person

First of all, you have to determine what type of physical problems a person faces. It can be as simple as being unable to look at small letters and as complex as unsteady fingers. Most smartphones now have not so obvious touch buttons and push buttons. A flip phone may not be suitable for some individuals who face difficulty infrequently opening and closing a device. Learn about specific problems faced by a person and determine the right smart phone accordingly.

Easy to Use Functions

This is the first priority of seniors. They are looking for intuitive and user-friendly features that are easy to find and operate in a smartphone. All basic functions of a simple feature phone should be present in the smartphone. It should not be so difficult that the user has to frequently seek help from others just to know how to call, how to send a message and how to read a message. Frequently used apps should be easy to find, use and operate. A high-resolution screen is always better because it helps avoid eye strain. Bright colors and sharp images make it easy to read letters and view images clearly. The smartphone can be used outdoors even during the daytime. Now very few smartphones have large buttons. However, you have to buy such a phone if it is a priority.

Limited or Simplified Features

Smartphones designed especially for seniors have intentionally limited features. This makes it easy to find the required features quickly and easily. Even if a smartphone has lots of features and functions, it should be easy to find frequently used features and functions. Basic command functions and menus should be easy to operate. One way you can simplify it for them is to install apps that are specially designed for seniors. These apps have limited and easy to use options, menus, buttons and links.

Assistive Features

Individuals who suffer from some physical health problems need devices that incorporate assistive technologies. In such a case, you have to first know the health problems faced by the person. A person may have poor eyesight but no problem in the physical handling of small devices while another person may have good eyesight but face difficulty in using digital buttons and other functions of a smartphone. Some smartphones let users amplify the sound if they have hearing problems. It should be easy to start the phone, make calls, and send and receive messages. Any emergency dialing feature should be displayed prominently after starting the phone. It helps notify family members or caregivers in case of an emergency. Seniors under treatment look for a device that alerts them to take their medication at the right time.

Affordable and Easy-To-Use Smartphone Plans

Telecom companies offer different types of plans. Some plans are very complex and not suitable for seniors. They want simple and affordable plans for basic calling and data usage. A reasonable service plan that is easy to check, manage and monitor is best for seniors.

Each person has a different set of physical limitations. Determine those limitations and find a smartphone accordingly. Generally, look for a clear and bright display, built-in voice commands, good speakerphone quality, SOS button, lightweight, long battery charge holding capacity, easy to hold device size and non-slippery body. The call and data plans should be easy to manage and monitor whether it is a phone purchased under a yearly plan or an unlocked phone with a prepaid plan.

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Healthy Living for Senior Citizens with Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition, especially for senior citizens. If you are a senior, you may be worried about how arthritis pain may affect your life. older woman with arthritis tending her gardenSome tips can help you cope with your condition so you can lead a healthier life.

Arthritis And Activity

When arthritis pain is severe, you do not want to move around anymore than necessary. However, there are benefits to activity.

First, when you participate in moderate activity on a regular basis, you will be less likely to experience severe pain. Daily exercise can keep your limbs and joints healthier.

Second, if you do not allow minor pain to prevent activity, you will benefit. Minor pain can become worse when your body is immobile. While you should not overdo activity, avoid staying in bed or on the couch when the discomfort is minor.

To cope with arthritis and avoid unnecessary pain, have a program of moderate daily exercise. If you are unsure of the exercise that is right for you, you can ask your physician or your home health aide for advice or assistance.

Arthritis And Your Diet

Every senior citizen should have a healthy, balanced diet, but this is especially true for seniors who have arthritis.

A useful diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein obtained from eggs and fish. The oil from fish is especially useful. Cold-water fish can reduce stiffness and inflammation.

When you are planning a diet or planning a snack, there are numerous products to avoid. In addition to being unhealthy, they can also increase inflammation. Avoid processed foods, carbonated soft drinks, candy, corn oil, and salty products. If you drink alcohol, arthritis is a good reason to give it up.

Some individuals find their arthritis is aggravated by dairy products. You can experiment to determine if this is true for you. If inflammation and pain worsens after eating or drinking dairy products, ask your doctor to recommend some non-dairy sources of calcium.

The point to keep in mind is to focus your diet on nutrition. When you provide your body with nutrient-rich foods every day, you will be healthier and avoid unnecessary pain.

Coping With Arthritis Through Stress-Reduction

There is a connection between stress and arthritis. If you have a high degree of stress in your life, pain will be more common. There are steps you can take to minimize this risk.

If you are worried or upset, do not hesitate to talk to someone about your concerns. You can find a family member, counselor, or your doctor or aide who is willing to listen and offer constructive feedback.

Stress-reduction techniques are useful, too. A long, warm bath can relieve stress and pain at the same time. Reading is another way to reduce stress.

Talk To Your Doctor

You can discuss natural ways to reduce pain with your personal physician. If you do need to take pain medication, ask about products that produce the least amount of side effects and health risks. Let your doctor know you are interested in a healthy lifestyle during your senior years.

You Can Be Healthy With Arthritis

Arthritis can be difficult to live with, but these tips can help you prevent arthritis from causing you to become disabled. Do not push yourself too hard when you are not feeling well, but make a point of staying active whenever you can.

Your senior years can be healthy, and arthritis does not have to severely impact your life. You can enjoy everyday living and your plans for the years ahead. Your life can be productive and fulfilling, even if you have arthritis.

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How a Home Care Aide Can Help Your Elderly Parent Enjoy a Higher Quality Life

If your elderly parents are staunchly committed to aging in place, you probably have a lot of anxiety concerning their ongoing welfare and well-being. elderly woman with her home care aideThese are very common fears given that more seniors are looking to cut their living costs while maintaining their autonomy by remaining in their own comfortable and familiar homes. Due to the fact that decreases in mobility, memory and cognitive functioning are all normal parts of growing old, all aging adults need have to plans for aging in place safely. As such, having a home care aide who is capable of offering a flexible, adaptable range of services is often critical for ensuring that seniors maintain optimal life qualities all throughout their golden years.

How A Home Care Aide Can Assist Elderly People With Essential Tasks

Decreases in vision, reaction times and memory are just a few of the many reasons why your elderly parents may eventually be required to give up their driving privileges. At some point in time, most seniors discover that it is simply no longer safe for them to operate their vehicles. Rather than catching the bus or paying for ride-share or taxi services, however, your elderly parents can get transportation assistance from a home care aide. This will allow them to do their shopping and run other essential errands in a safe, comfortable and convenient way. A home care aid can also provide transportation for helping seniors maintain balanced and robust, social lives.

Decreases In Mobility And Fine Motor Coordination

Degenerative, age-related illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease can make even the most minor tasks incredibly challenging. Even aging adults who have not been diagnosed with Parkinson’s can experience difficulty in grooming and bathing themselves due to diminished mobility and fine motor control. Home care workers can assist with these daily tasks while exhibiting the utmost respect, empathy and professionalism. They can also gently encourage your elderly parents to maintain as active a role in their own responsibilities as possible. The more that seniors are encouraged to use their fine motor skills, memories and cognitive abilities, the longer they are likely to retain them.

Mitigating Problems That Result From Declining Memory

It doesn’t take a degenerative brain disease like Alzheimer’s to make senior adults struggle with memory. Unfortunately, however, age-related memory loss can be incredibly dangerous, especially when elderly people have multiple medications that they’re supposed to take each and every day. As memory declines, the risk of forgotten doses and accidental overdose dramatically increase.

While the typical home care aide is a non-medical professional, this person can still assist with medication management by issuing medication reminders.

Help With The Responsibilities Of Maintaining A Home

As people experience decreases in both their physical and cognitive abilities, even everyday responsibilities like doing the laundry or washing the dishes can become overwhelming. A home care aide can assist with things like light housekeeping and even cooking so that seniors have less to do and are assured of having safe and comfortable living environments. It is important to note that when both cognitive functioning and memory decline, having elderly people continue to use the stove and oven can have a significant impact on their safety.

Preventing Senior Isolation, Loneliness And Depression

It is important to additionally have a plan for preventing senior isolation. This is especially vital if one or more of your elderly parents is temporarily or permanently housebound. While visiting family members can provide essential social engagement from time to time, regular companionship care from a seasoned home care worker will keep feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression at bay. Not only is this regular engagement good for protecting and preserving an elderly person’s mental health, but it can also have a very powerful and positive impact on his or her health overall. People tend to thrive when they have the right resources, services and support for feeling comfortable, valued and safe. Fortunately, these are all benefits that a certified home care aide can provide.

Boca Home Care Services has been matching seniors with screened and qualified home care aides since 1998. Please call 561-989-0611 for information.

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