Maintaining balance and coordination can be difficult for older adults with Parkinson’s disease (PD) since it’s a neurodegenerative disorder that often affects mobility over time. While the disease itself isn’t yet curable, there’s evidence suggesting the right type of physical stimulation could slow the progression of mobility issues. Here are some ideal exercises that could help your senior loved one with Parkinson’s maintain coordination along with details about why each exercise is beneficial.
The changes to the brain that affect movement in older adults with Parkinson’s can increase the risk of falling. But regular aerobic forms of exercise can strengthen the joints and soft tissues that play a role in coordination, flexibility, mobility, and balance while also reducing the risk of being thrown off balance. Some of the best aerobic exercises for older adults with PD include:
• Traditional cycling
• Stationary bike or elliptical machine use
• Water-based exercises such as swimming or water aerobics
Seniors with Parkinson’s may need assistance with daily exercise from trained professional caregivers. Families looking for top-rated Clearwater senior home 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.
Fine Motor Exercises
Seniors with PD may have difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning shirts or holding silverware. One way to retain these abilities as much as possible as the disease progresses is to increase the coordination of the muscles involved with fine motor movements. Exercises specifically done for this purpose may involve inner arm stretches, wrist rotations, finger flexes, and the squeezing or pinching of stress balls.
Low-Impact Strength-Building Exercises
Regular strength training exercises can sometimes be too difficult for seniors with PD. However, your loved one may experience similar benefits with the use of lighter weights or resistance bands that also contribute to increased strength by targeting the core muscles involved with balance and coordination.
Strength and endurance can also be increased with leg raises, which can be done on the side or back. Regardless of how your loved one is able to comfortably do leg raises, exercises of this nature can strengthen the lower back muscles that help with posture and coordination. Leg raises also help seniors with PD maintain a healthy weight and enhance their stability.
At-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Walking is a simple type of coordination exercise that’s great for older adults with Parkinson’s because it can be done in a way that’s safe and comfortable. During the early stages of the disease, your loved one may benefit from brisk walks that stimulate all the muscle groups involved with motion. Your loved one can even incorporate the use of wrist or ankle weights into a walking routine if he or she prefers added resistance. As the symptoms advance, your loved one can still benefit from casual walking done at a slower pace on smooth, even surfaces.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Both yoga and tai chi consistently rank among the top balance and coordination exercises for older adults with Parkinson’s, because the movements associated with these disciplines are slow and controlled, which makes them safe to do for many seniors with PD. The techniques involved with yoga and tai chi could also contribute to improvements with:
• Joint stability
• Range of motion
Some family caregivers don’t have time to help their loved ones with exercise and other important tasks. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Clearwater, Florida, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call us today at (727) 330-7862 to learn more.