Think of the mind of a senior with Parkinson’s as an increasingly difficult maze. The brain is constantly sending messages along pathways and the messengers, known as neurotransmitters, sometimes get lost when obstacles pop up in the maze. Instead of giving up, those messengers try to find a clear pathway to their intended destination. Home Care Assistance San Antonio, a leader in senior home care, shares the following information on creating new neural pathways.
Finding New Pathways Leading to Dopamine
Parkinson’s disease is caused when neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain die or become impaired. Those neurons carry a chemical called dopamine, which is required to stimulate the part of the brain controlling movement and other cognitive functions. There’s research suggesting that new neural pathways may be formed as the brain compensates for lack of dopamine by locating other areas where it can find the chemical it needs.
Creating New Neural Pathways by Learning
Every human brain, regardless of whether or not it’s affected by Parkinson’s, is capable of creating new neural pathways. While there are still uncertainties when it comes to Parkinson’s disease, research suggests that adjacent areas within the brain can assume additional functions. This is exactly what happens when stroke patients recover and regain movement in affected parts of the body. Certain therapies may create new neural pathways as abilities and functions are relearned. The same concept applies when seniors learn new ways to compensate for slow movement, like walking with exaggerated motions to retain balance.
When creating new neural pathways, it’s important to consider the following steps to effectively change the brain:
- Determine the new habit
- Shift focus from the old habit by recognizing the value of the new habit
- Identify triggers of the old habit and have a plan to address those triggers
- Repeat, repeat, repeat—it takes about two months to truly establish a new habit
If you’re currently caring for an elderly loved one with Parkinson’s disease and have questions or require additional help, reach out to San Antonio Home Care Assistance. We’re a reliable provider of Parkinson’s care in San Antonio, and our experienced caregivers can help with everything from mobility support to cooking and cleaning. Call us today at (210) 495-6300 to request a complimentary in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager.