Over the last year it seems that we’ve noticed a trend with a lot of our Arlington Heights friends and neighbors who care for someone with Parkinson’s. While HIPAA laws prevent us from sharing information about those for whom we provide care, I often want to tell families, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS DISEASE!” Knowing that there are others who share your experience can be comforting (and educational). Each family has their own tips, tricks, and favorite resources around Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove, and Prospect Heights for dealing with Parkinson’s. While this neurodegenerative disease has no known cure, lifestyle changes and self-care can slow the progression or help make daily living easier. Our caregivers can help those with mild to moderate Parkinson’s remain in their own homes. They come to prepare meals, assist with showers, and can also provide transportation to activities out and about the northwest suburbs. What we do know is that staying active can help maintain balance, mobility, and stamina! We thought we’d share some favorite (and local!) resources.
Parkinson’s Resources in and around Arlington Heights
Parkinson’s Program at Lutheran Home
This class meets weekly on Mondays at 10am. Participants focus on balance as they draw on Tai Chi and a boxing technique called Rock Steady. Did you know that studies show that boxing can ease tremors for 24 hours? Get out your boxing gloves! This class will do a lot of that. Afterwards a light brunch is served to relax after your workout.
800 West Oakton Street
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Every Monday at 10am
Contact Linda Smith at (847) 368-7404 for more information.
There is also a Parkinson’s support session there the first Thursday of every month from 1:30-2:30.
Parkinson’s Exercise Class at Belmont Senior Living
Our caregivers have really enjoyed taking their clients (and participating as well) in this exercise class at Belmont Village. They’ve told me great things about the instructor, who has a lot of experience with yoga and other disciplines like martial arts. According to our caregiver, Allison, “He draws on that and does breathing exercises and lots of unique things. He has great examples when he teaches, and it’s always such a friendly, social gathering.”
Want to check it out? Call Sue at (847) 537-5000 for more information.
500 McHenry Road
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Tuesdays at 1:30 pm
Free and Ongoing
Parkinson’s support group meeting at the Arlington Heights Senior Center
The Arlington Heights Senior Center also offers a Parkinson’s support group. The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 20th from 6:30-8:00pm. The speaker will be talking about maximizing nutrition for Parksinson’s Care.
Call the Senior Center at (847) 253-5532 for more information
Arlington Heights Senior Center
1801 W Central Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
June 20th, 6:30-8pm.
What can you do at home?
You can practice some of the activities you learn in class or do a few other easy exercises at home. Try squeezing a rubber ball for a short time every day to keep fingers agile and strong and reduce tremors. A daily massage, even from an amateur, will relieve spasms and cramps while providing overall relief. Heating pads and icy muscle reliever creams will work wonders on sore muscles and joints.
Adapting Daily Activities
As the disease progresses, daily tasks become more difficult. Tooth decay, as well as gum disease becomes a problem because holding a toothbrush or flossing steadily become difficult. Brushing hair is equally frustrating. Medical supply stores have a number of adaptive handles that can attach to toothbrushes, combs, and hairbrushes to take the stress out of getting ready in the morning. Be sure to take your loved one to the store to try out several models and see which one works best, as well as to check out the ever-changing displays of new adaptive merchandise.
Look for specially designed spoons and forks that have padded or built up handles that can be grabbed more easily. Serve food in bowls instead of plates; the sides will make it easier to push food onto utensils. Be sure that serving dishes are within easy reach. Medications cause dry mouth, so encourage frequent sips of liquids while eating to avoid choking. As the disease progresses, they may experience excessive drooling and problems with swallowing, so watch closely for choking or coughing.
Getting dressed becomes more difficult over time, so make it easier on everyone by choosing clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Loose fitting clothing is easier to manipulate than tighter clothes. Replace buttons and zippers with Velcro as much as possible. There are even clothes that fasten with magnets. Adaptive clothing doesn’t have to be dowdy; there are many online sites that cater specifically to Parkinson’s patients and feature stylish clothing. The most important thing to remember is that there is no rushing while dressing; leave plenty of time and there won’t be any frustration or discomfort.
A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis is shocking to the entire family, but with advances in senior care, more people can stay in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, instead of moving into a nursing home. Skilled in-home care services help them with their daily tasks and keep them active for as long as possible.
Mobility will become an issue over time, so make sure there will be room for canes, walkers, and eventually wheelchairs. Remove area rugs and move floor lamps and cords out of walkways. Lamp pulls may have to be lengthened so someone in a wheelchair can easily reach them. Furniture may need to be rearranged to allow a wheelchair to move freely, and decorative objects like vases and end tables may need to be removed. Replace doorknobs with pulls or handles to make them easier to grab.
Be sure that all furniture in the home is stable and won’t roll around when the person is trying to sit or lie down. Remove wheels or replace them with non-wheeled versions. Install bars near toilets, bathtubs, and showers and use non-slip mats in and around tubs and showers. Keep essentials like toilet paper and towels within easy reach, to keep someone from having to lean too far and falling over.
You don’t need to be an expert with tools to make some changes that will help someone with Parkinson’s. Pieces of cloth or rope tied to kitchen cabinet handles will give them more to grab and help them open the doors. Rearrange items that are used more often in cabinets and the refrigerator so they are kept between chest and waist level on the patient so there isn’t as much bending and stretching.
If you have a loved one in Arlington Heights, IL who needs care services, you can trust the skilled professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care. Whether you need senior care/elderly care services or in-home care, we’ll work with you to develop a care plan that suits your loved one’s needs. All of our caregivers have been thoroughly screened, and are licensed, bonded, insured, and trained in CPR and first aid, so you can be assured your family member is being cared for by a trusted, compassionate aide.