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What Are Some of the Best Exercises for Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease?

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All seniors should exercise for at least half an hour five days a week, but it’s especially important for seniors with Parkinson’s to add some physical activity to their weekly schedules. Exercise can boost overall health, enhance mood, and help with Parkinson’s-specific issues like balance and flexibility. If your senior loved one has Parkinson’s disease, encourage him or her to participate in the following exercises.

Swimming and Water Aerobics

Swimming is a great exercise for seniors in general, particularly those who aren’t too steady on their feet anymore, because the water minimizes the impact to joints. It’s a great way to increase flexibility, and swimming at a faster rate can boost cardiovascular health. If your loved one is unable to swim laps, consider aqua jogging or water aerobics, which can increase movement in people with Parkinson’s. The resistance of the water can also build muscle strength. Just make sure someone is around to monitor your loved one in the water. 

Exercising regularly can boost quality of life in the golden years. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Colorado Springs families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

Walking Outdoors

Taking a walk through the neighborhood or a local park may not seem like exercise, but it can provide many health benefits for seniors with Parkinson’s. Being outdoors is a major mood booster, and walking with family members and friends can help with bonding and socialization. Walking can also build stamina and flexibility. Encourage your loved one to work up to a faster pace over time for added cardiovascular benefits.

Dancing

Studies have shown that older adults with Parkinson’s who participate in music therapy see an overall increase in mental and physical health. While you may not have access to a music therapist at home, there’s no reason you can’t turn on you loved one’s favorite tunes and dance together. Listening to the music may boost your loved one’s mood and mental outlook, and it may even help with speech and cognition if he or she sings along. The movements can help with posture, balance, stride, and flexibility. If your loved one is hesitant to dance, encourage marching in place and swinging the arms. 

Family caregivers don’t always have time to assist their loved ones with daily exercise. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Colorado Springs family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Finger, Hand, and Wrist Exercises

One of the most frustrating aspects of Parkinson’s is losing the ability to control the hands and fingers, as this can make everyday tasks like writing, eating, and getting dressed difficult and sometimes impossible. However, doing a few hand, wrist, and finger exercises each day may prolong the ability to use those body parts. Your loved one can try rolling the wrists, squeezing a ball, and placing his or her hands flat on a wall and pushing hard. Ripping paper and buttoning and unbuttoning garments over and over are also good exercises.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a great exercise for those with Parkinson’s because it’s all about controlling the body’s movements. It may also help with balance, motor skills, and flexibility. Look for a tai chi class in your community, perhaps at a gym or the local senior center. If your loved one prefers to exercise at home, shop for DVDs and digital downloads that offer tai chi instruction.

If your loved one is living with Parkinson’s disease and needs help with exercise and other daily activities, consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver. Families looking for top-rated Colorado Springs elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (719) 822-1229.