Therapy becomes an important part of a senior’s life after a Parkinson’s diagnosis. While professional therapists develop their own plans for aging clients, there are also many types of activities older adults can do in their spare time to offset the negative effects of the disease. Seniors can enjoy the benefits of these six therapy ideas while also filling their days with new and interesting activities.
1. Practice Meditation
Some of the most challenging symptoms of Parkinson’s are more mental than physical. Seniors with Parkinson’s often find the changes that occur in the brain make it difficult to focus their attention on one task. Meditation helps seniors learn how to calm their minds and think about one thing at a time. This practice is also therapeutic for the emotional effects, such as anxiety and depression, that often accompany living with a chronic condition.
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2. Learn to Do the Tango
Dancing in general is beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease. However, the Argentine tango is especially therapeutic. Some of the dance steps, such as tapping a partner’s foot, are similar to the same types of exercises used in Parkinson’s therapy. The dance style also focuses on posture, balance, and the ability to change direction and turn, which are all common challenges for people with Parkinson’s disease.
3. Do Puzzles
Playing brain games is a great way for seniors to retain their cognitive abilities. Seniors can choose any type of puzzle to strengthen their thinking and reasoning skills, but word puzzles offer the additional benefit of exercising vocabulary skills and the ability to put together coherent sentences.
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4. Try Non-Contact Boxing
There’s something about boxing that instantly fills a person with confidence. Learning how to box gives seniors with Parkinson’s something exciting to do when they may be feeling depressed about the challenges they face. Boxing is perfect for increasing balance and agility. Hand-eye coordination is also strengthened through performing the precise movements required to box properly. Boxing moves that require crossing hands to opposite sides of the body activate both sides of the brain, enhancing neural communication.
5. Sing for Strength
Singing is a simple activity that stimulates the respiratory system and throat muscles. Current research shows singing regularly can strengthen the muscles in the throat associated with swallowing and breathing. Seniors can join a choir or just enjoy singing at home. This activity is most therapeutic when seniors take lessons from professional instructors, who can guide them through proper breath control as they sing.
6. Play with Clay
People with Parkinson’s have been found to experience an increase in their creativity. While the reasons for this phenomenon aren’t understood, if your loved one expresses a newfound interest in art, it’s definitely worth tapping into. Clay therapy, or sculpting, promotes hand strength and dexterity. As your loved one works with clay to make his or her vision come to life, he or she also activate parts of the brain associated with visual-spatial skills. Finishing artistic pieces also provides a sense of accomplishment that enhances self-esteem.
Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with the everyday tasks of life, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care. San Antonio, TX, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age. Call us at (210) 495-6300 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.