Living With Parkinson's Disease
Aids and Adaptations
Patients with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from various aids and adaptations that can help increase their independence and improve their quality of life. These can include walking assistance, bathroom adaptations, emergency alarms and monitors, and equipment that can assist with eating, drinking, and getting out of bed. An occupational therapist can assist with recommending aids for each patient.
No specific diet is recommended for patients with Parkinson’s disease. However, a balanced, nutritional diet improves general health, and dietary measures can optimize the effects of Parkinson’s medications while easing some of the symptoms. A healthy diet includes a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, and protein-rich foods.
Regular exercise can benefit Parkinson’s patients not only with their mental health (by reducing stress and anxiety) but also with maintaining and improving their mobility, balance, coordination, and ability to perform daily activities. Researchers have found that Parkinson’s patients who exercise at least 2.5 hours a week also experience a slower decline in their quality of life.
Since the exact symptoms of Parkinson’s can show variability, it is recommended that patients or their caregivers keep a diary to monitor disease progression. The diary should include problems experienced in daily activities, the progression and severity of symptoms, response to medications, and any emotional or behavioral changes. Writing down these observations can help the patient’s physician better understand and monitor how the disease progresses.