Patients with Parkinson’s Disease often have difficulty with movement, balance, and coordination. They experience muscle stiffness and tremors, which may make simple activities hard to complete as it requires more time and effort on their part to get the job done. Due to the nature of the disease, we may have noticed our loved ones gradually withdrawing from engaging in activities when their symptoms worsen.
A withdrawal from leisure activities can be concerning as this takes a toll on our loved ones’ emotional and mental health. Hence, we should encourage our loved ones to keep themselves physically active and remain socially connected. Although they may have difficulties with movement and coordination, there are still fun activities they can engage in that will be beneficial for them. Encourage your loved ones to try these four activities for seniors with Parkinson’s disease today!
Completing puzzles is a great form of cognitive stimulation for seniors with Parkinson’s. You can let your loved one try either picture or word puzzles. Picture and jigsaw puzzles have been shown to help improve an individual’s problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, and memory. When doing word puzzles, our loved ones will need to search for letters and words, which can help enhance their reasoning and language capabilities. Doing these puzzles can keep their minds alert and enhance their focus.
Swimming is another beneficial activity for patients with Parkinson’s disease. However, this should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so do consult your loved one’s doctor or physiotherapist to get the go-ahead before your loved one engages in this activity.
Aquatic exercise can improve balance and mobility. The buoyancy of the water will relieve some of the body’s weight and help provide support for weak muscles. In the long run, this will enhance balance and motor control when walking. These days, many aquatic centers offer classes specially tailored for people with Parkinson’s. By enrolling your loved one in classes, he or she will also have opportunities to make new friends.
Speech and voice problems have been known to affect patients with Parkinson’s as the vocal and throat muscles will weaken during the course of the disease. You may have noticed some differences in your loved one’s volume and speed of speech. Singing can help strengthen your loved one’s voice and is a wonderful pastime to have. It is said that music heals the soul. Indeed, singing is not only a way to exercise seniors’ vocal muscles and enhance respiratory control, but it can also calm them down, improve their mood, and reduce stress levels.
Arts and Crafts
Seniors with Parkinson’s can engage in simple art activities such as painting. Since their hands may be shaky and they may encounter problems when trying to grasp a brush, why not try finger painting with your loved one? In finger painting, participants will dip their fingers in paint to decorate a blank canvas. For patients whose mobility skills are slightly better, you can let them do some doodling. Getting creative is a fun way for your loved ones to keep their mind active while also exercising their hands and arms.
Join a Support Group
Your loved ones may need an outlet to share their feelings and connect with others. Joining a support group allows them to meet other people going through the same experience. Having connections with others is beneficial for their mental health and may aid in slowing down the progression of Parkinson’s. Being part of the support group will help you as a caregiver as well. You will be able to speak to other caregivers to get advice on how to better support and care for yourself and your loved one.