Parkinson’s disease can have a significant impact on a senior’s mobility, which can make going outside a challenge. However, with a little adaptation, many outdoor activities can be beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s. The Parkinson’s care experts at Naples Home Care Assistance have a few suggestions for your elderly loved one to try.
1. Taking a Stroll
Seniors with Parkinson’s often have limited range of motion. However, many are able to walk with mobility aids or with someone to help steady them. It is important to stay mobile so existing physical abilities are not lost. If your loved one is able to walk, even a short distance, take him or her to a scenic area, such as a park, public garden, or an easy walking trail, and go for a stroll. In addition to keeping his or her muscles strong, your loved one can also benefit emotionally from the change in scenery and getting to be outside.
2. Playing Sticky Catch
Coordination can be difficult for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. However, using the abilities they do have can help increase coordination. Encourage your loved one to play a game of sticky catch. This game uses a Velcro ball and flat, circular Velcro mitts that fit over the hand. Gently tossing the ball back and forth allows it to stick to the mitt as soon as it touches it. The mitts are much easier to manage than trying to catch a ball with bare hands because they just have to be positioned in the right area. You may find your loved one’s coordination increases a bit while practicing this game, and he or she can even play it with the grandkids or while sitting in a lawn chair if he or she gets tired from standing.
If your loved one has not gardened before, now is a great time to try something new. He or she can opt to grow vegetables, flowers, or a little bit of both. After the area is tilled and prepared, your loved one can help you plant seeds and bulbs, cover them with dirt, and water them. Encourage your loved one to continue tending to the garden each day, doing the tasks he or she is able to do. It can be difficult for seniors with Parkinson’s to kneel and stand, so provide a knee pad and a solid piece of furniture, such as a lawn bench, to help your loved one get back on his or her feet after gardening sessions. Gardening has many benefits for seniors receiving Naples Parkinson’s care. It allows your loved one to bend and move in a variety of different ways, and it encourages the development and maintenance of both large movements and fine motor skills when doing tasks like digging a hole or putting seeds or bulbs in place. Pouring water and lifting small garden tools can help your loved one build strength and endurance, and removing weeds and pruning plants as they grow gives a continued reason for your loved one to participate in this activity.
4. Going on a Picnic
If your loved one’s condition does not make it too difficult for him or her to sit and stand, you can simply spread a blanket in a shady area of the backyard. Otherwise, you can use a table on the porch or take your picnic to the local park where tables are usually available. Encourage your loved one to help you prepare the meal and even to invite a friend for socialization. One of the biggest benefits of a picnic is the chance to get outside and enjoy nature. The peacefulness of being outside can reduce the agitation some seniors with Parkinson’s experience. It’s also an opportunity for your loved one to practice manipulating things with his or her hands. Simple actions like opening jars and pulling lids off containers and putting them back on can help keep the hands and fingers nimble and better able to move.
If your loved one needs help managing Parkinson’s symptoms, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with mobility and exercise, provide transportation, and help with many more important tasks. In addition to Parkinson’s care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke care for Naples seniors who need more extensive assistance. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, call a Client Care Manager at (239) 449-4701 today.