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10 Activities for People with Parkinson’s Disease
For seniors with Parkinson’s disease (PD), finding activities to do can be difficult. Because of some of the disease’s symptoms, such as tremors, balance issues, and slowed movement, seniors may not be able to participate in activities they once enjoyed. Staying engaged and challenged is an important part of dealing with PD. These activities can help:
Play Mini Golf
This activity will help your loved one maintain and improve hand-eye coordination. They may not be able to walk as far as they used to because of fatigue or muscle weakness in the legs, but a game of mini golf is a great way to fit in a healthy dose of walking. It’s also a fun way to get some fresh air outdoors!
Creating art, such as painting or working with clay, can soothe frustration in seniors with PD. One study showed that people with PD working with clay showed improvements in hand dexterity, mood, and quality of life. Remind your loved one that art is about the creation process, not the finished result, and reassure them that whatever they create is beautiful.
Stimulate Thinking Skills
Encourage your loved one to listen to or read news or current events. Listening to audiobooks can also help stimulate seniors’ brains, although you may have to limit this activity to brief intervals due to concentration issues.
Play Brain Games
Games like “word association” are great for cognitive stimulation. In this game, seniors can match words that are associated with each other. Pictures that are connected can also be used in place of words. This mind exercise is oriented toward training language, reasoning, and semantic memory. You can play online or with an in-person group.
Cooking is not an activity you have to give up once you’ve been diagnosed with PD. Cooking helps seniors with PD improve and maintain fine motor dexterity. You may need to assist your loved one with using sharp cooking utensils like knives if they experience tremors. Getting cut-resistant gloves or having them help in other ways like mixing or gathering ingredients can help keep them safe.
Do a Word Search
Completing word searches is a mentally stimulating activity that involves finding hidden words within a puzzle. Word searches are great for people with PD because they promote attention. You can make a custom word search for your loved one by using the names of relatives, their favorite actors or tv shows, or book characters. This can boost their motivation to finish the puzzle.
Walking, hiking, or jogging outdoors can help with lower-body flexibility and improve stamina, which can lead to better blood flow and mental clarity. Research has shown that exercise in general can improve gait, balance, grip strength, and motor coordination and reduce tremors in people with PD.
Move to Music
If your loved one has PD, engage them with daily activities that involve movement to music like dancing, marching, singing, and swaying. Dancing, especially with a partner, can improve balance and coordination.
Spending time in the garden pulling weeds or planting flowers, fruits, or vegetables keeps your hands busy. This leads to more flexible hand muscles, which could help reduce stiffness and tremors. In addition, gardening can help relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Play Table Tennis
Not only is table tennis a cardio exercise, it requires hand-eye coordination. Because this can be affected by PD, practicing these movements in a fun game setting can help your loved one retain and strengthen their motor abilities.