Understanding Parkinsonism: How to Help Your Loved Ones Live Well”

Understanding Parkinsonism: How to Help Your Loved Ones Live Well”

Oct 11, 2023

Dear Readers

This is the first issue of this series of newsletter. The focus of this newsletter is following:

  1. a) What is Parkins on’s disease?

b)  What is the mechanism of occurrence of this disease?

  1. c) What causes this disease?
  2. d) Early symptoms of Parkinsonism that family may miss?

e) what are the other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

f) How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?

Discover the facts and learn how to manage this condition with our introduction to Parkinsonism.


Parkinson’s disease (PD), is an advancing movement disorder that affects over 1% of individuals aged 60 and above. An estimated 8 million people worldwide are afflicted by this ailment making it the second most prevalent neurological disease after the age of 60 years


Why do people get the disease?

The neurons in the midbrain are responsible for producing ‘dopamine’. The loss of neurones leads to a range of motor and non-motor symptoms. Interestingly, individuals may experience the disease for 5 to 10 years before receiving a diagnosis, during which time a significant portion of the affected brain region’s neurons may have alreadydeteriorated. The exact cause of this cell death remains poorly understood.



The exact origin of Parkinson’s disease remains a perplexing puzzle, but scholars suggest that a combination of hereditary and environmental influences contribute to its emergence. Individuals with a familial background in PD encounter an elevated likelihood of acquiring the ailment, as particular genes have been identified as inheritable elements that heighten the risk. Additionally, exposure to distinct pesticides like Dieldrin and Paraquat, alongside antecedents of cranial injuries, are contemplated as other plausible factors that may increase susceptibility.


EARLY symptoms OF PARKINSONISM that family may MISS?

The onset of Parkinson’s disease often manifests as a trembling sensation in a single hand, although it can also lead to rigidity or reduced agility in movement without any noticeable trembling. Alternatively, one might find that their arm does not sway naturally while walking, which could be detected by someone else. Among the prevalent movement disorders, essential tremor, restless legs syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease take the lead. These disorders can vary in intensity, ranging from mild inconvenience to profoundly impairing conditions, and often share strikingly similar symptoms. It is of utmost importance to procure a precise diagnosis.

In the end, it’s important to note that “all that shakes is not Parkinsonian”.


Parkinson disease can cause tremors, slowness, stiffness, and problems with walking and balance. Apart from movement-related (motor) symptoms, Parkinson’s disease also presents non-motor symptoms that are unrelated to movement. Examples of these non-motor symptoms include apathy, depression,  constipation, sleep behavior disorders, loss of sense of smell, and cognitive impairment.


PD is known as a “movement disorder” and therefore the diagnosis of PD relies on the observation of patient movement. Unfortunately however, it is often misdiagnosed or completely overlooked in the primary care setting. Movement disorder specialists or a neurologist however achieve reliable diagnostic accuracies.


The process of diagnosis poses considerable difficulties, particularly during the initial stages of the disease. It is important to note that a single test alone cannot provide a conclusive diagnosis. To accurately identify the condition, a comprehensive evaluation involving physical and neurological examinations is necessary. These assessments are conducted over a period of time to monitor changes in reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function. Additionally, your doctor may observe your response to medication.

what is the purpose of the treatment?

The primary objective of treatment is to manage and alleviate the symptoms’ of this degenerative condition and its impact. Aim is to get quality of life with least amount of injuries related due to falls. Prevention is better than cure, There are treatments available to alleviate some of the disease’s effects, however, there is currently no cure or way to slow down its progression. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is that by the time individuals feel a need to see a doctor, the disease might may already be with them for many years before it is diagnosed.

Treatment generally begins with the administration of levodopa (L-DOPA), MAO-B inhibitors, or dopamine agonists. Individuals with PD require these medications as their brain lacks or possesses insufficient levels of dopamine, stemming from the decline of dopamine-producing neurons. Encouragingly, individuals with PD can

experience a favourable standard of living for an extended period. Collaborating closely with your healthcare professional and adhering to the prescribed therapies play a crucial role in effectively managing symptoms using dopaminergic medications.


Although a cure for Parkinson’s disease remains elusive, there exist numerous approaches to effectively handle its symptoms and enhance one’s overall well-being. Specifically, physical exercises like boxing exercises and swift, concise movements have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in assisting with symptom management. It’s worth noting that boxing itself is not a prerequisite for reaping these benefits; rather, the key lies in engaging in any form of physical activity that aids in effectively managing the disease. For instance, if walking proves challenging, one can opt to remain seated and partake in seated aerobics as an alternative means of promoting increased blood flow to the brain.


Purpose of the treatment to improve the quality of life which is important than the quantity of life. For fall prevention, use a cane or a walker. Walker is the best depending on the need. Once you start falling, Cane is useless. Here are some other e best hobbies for Parkinson’s patients, backed by research and expert recommendations.

Section 1: Physical Activities

Physical activities play a crucial role in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Regular exercise can help improve mobility, balance, and flexibility, as well as reduce the risk of falls. One hobby that has shown promising results for Parkinson’s patients is cycling [2]. Riding a bicycle, whether outdoors or indoors, has been proven to significantly reduce common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Cycling not only boosts cardiovascular health but also strengthens the legs and hips [2]. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for social interaction and outdoor exploration.

Another physical activity that can benefit individuals with Parkinson’s disease is dancing. Dancing combines physical movement with rhythm and music, making it an enjoyable and engaging hobby. Research suggests that dance therapy can improve gait, balance, and overall motor function in Parkinson’s patients [1]. Moreover, dancing promotes social interaction and emotional well-being, which are essential aspects of managing the disease.

Section 2: Cognitive Stimulation

Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind is crucial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Playing video games is one such hobby that can provide cognitive and motor benefits [4]. Video games require mental agility, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. By playing video games,

Parkinson’s patients can improve their cognitive abilities and enhance their motor skills, ultimately reducing their symptoms [4]. It is important to choose games that are suitable for the individual’s abilities and interests.

Another hobby that promotes cognitive stimulation is puzzle-solving. Activities such as crosswords, Sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles can help improve memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. These activities also provide a sense of accomplishment and can be done individually or with others, fostering social interaction [3].

Section 3: Creative Pursuits

Engaging in creative hobbies can be highly therapeutic for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Art therapy, for example, has been shown to improve motor skills, reduce stress, and enhance emotional well-being in Parkinson’s patients [1]. Painting, drawing, sculpting, and other artistic activities allow individuals to express themselves creatively and engage in a calming and fulfilling hobby.

Music therapy is another creative pursuit that can benefit individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Playing a musical instrument or singing can help improve coordination, dexterity, and vocal control [1]. Music has also been found to have a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being. Joining a choir or learning to play an instrument can provide opportunities for social engagement and a sense of belonging.

Section 4: Mindfulness and Relaxation

Managing stress and promoting relaxation are essential for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Engaging in hobbies that promote mindfulness and relaxation can help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi have been found to be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients [3]. These practices focus on deep breathing, gentle movements, and mental clarity, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.

Gardening is another hobby that can provide a sense of calmness and connection with nature. It allows individuals to engage in physical activity while enjoying the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors. Gardening has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being [1].
Engaging in hobbies can have a significant positive impact on the lives of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Physical activities such as cycling and dancing improve mobility and balance, while cognitive stimulation through video games and puzzles enhances cognitive abilities. Creative pursuits like art and music therapy provide emotional and expressive outlets, and mindfulness activities such as yoga and gardening promote relaxation and stress reduction. It is important for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to explore different hobbies and find those that suit their interests and abilities. By

incorporating hobbies into their daily routine, individuals with Parkinson’s disease can enhance their quality of life and better manage their symptoms.

Designing an Exercise Plan with the Assistance of a Physical Therapist

When it comes to encouraging movement, physical therapists are the ultimate experts. Contrary to popular belief, their expertise extends beyond injury rehabilitation. In fact, they play a crucial role in the treatment and preventive care of patients with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Given that each individual’s experience with Parkinson’s disease is unique, it becomes imperative to collaborate with a professional such as a physical therapist. Their extensive knowledge allows them to create a personalized program tailored to the specific needs of each patient afflicted with Parkinson’s.

These skilled professionals not only instruct on exercises and routines that effectively manage the distinct symptoms of the patient but also impart techniques to keep them fully engaged in these activities. To ensure the exercise plan remains up-to-date and aligned with the patient’s current

level of mobility, it is recommended for Parkinson’s patients to schedule regular meetings with their physical therapist, preferably every six months.

“The crucial role of Family in Assisting Parkinson’s Patients”

Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive neurological condition necessitates not only medical treatments and therapies but also the unwavering support and active involvement of family members. Within the family unit lies a robust foundation of emotional solace, physical assistance, and practical aid, all of which are essential for those living with Parkinson’s disease.

When confronted with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, both the patient and their family may find themselves overwhelmed. During such trying times, it becomes imperative for family members to extend emotional support. By merely lending an ear, offering reassurance, and providing a comforting shoulder to lean upon, family members can contribute significantly to the well-being of the patient. Moreover, fostering an environment that encourages open communication about fears, concerns, and frustrations related to the disease creates a safe space for the patient to express their emotions freely.

Parkinson’s disease often impairs physical capabilities, rendering even the simplest tasks more arduous. In these instances, family members can step in and provide physical support whenever necessary. Their assistance may include aiding with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, or meal preparation. Additionally, family members can actively participate in and encourage regular exercise routines that aid in symptom management and overall improvement of well-being. By offering physical support, family members not only enhance the patient’s quality of life but also foster a sense of independence and self-esteem.

Managing Parkinson’s disease necessitates meticulous planning and organization. Family members play a pivotal role in providing practical support that aids patients in navigating their daily lives. This may involve helping with medication management, scheduling doctor appointments, or coordinating transportation to medical visits. Furthermore, family members can contribute to the creation of a safe and accessible home environment by making necessary modifications such as installing handrails or eliminating tripping hazards.

In conclusion, the support offered by family members holds immeasurable value in the journey of a Parkinson’s patient. Through

the provision of emotional solace, physical assistance, and practical aid, families can significantly enhance the patient’s quality of life and overall well-being. It is of utmost importance for family members to educate themselves about the disease, remain informed about emerging treatments and therapies, and actively engage in the patient’s care. Together, armed with the unwavering support of their loved ones, individuals living with Parkinson’s disease can confront the challenges that lie ahead with fortitude and resilience.

Changes in the hoUSEHOLD to Support Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Parkinson’s disease, poses challenges for individuals in their daily lives, including within their homes. However, implementing certain modifications in the house can significantly enhance safety and improve the quality of life for those with Parkinson’s disease. Below are the suggestions for key adjustments to create a more accessible and comfortable living environment.

  1. a) Gaining Knowledge about the Disease
    The first step in assisting a Parkinson’s patient is to educate oneself about the disease. Knowing the symptoms, how it progresses, and available treatment options helps family members provide informed support. By understanding the challenges faced by these patients, family members can empathize and adjust their approach accordingly.
  2. a) Gaining Knowledge about the Disease
    The first step in assisting a Parkinson’s patient is to educate oneself about the disease. Knowing the symptoms, how it progresses, and available treatment options helps family members provide informed support. By understanding the challenges faced by these patients, family members can empathize and adjust their approach accordingly.
  3. a) Gaining Knowledge about the Disease
    The first step in assisting a Parkinson’s patient is to educate oneself about the disease. Knowing the symptoms, how it progresses, and available treatment options helps family members provide informed support. By understanding the challenges faced by these patients, family members can empathize and adjust their approach accordingly.
  4. ]Facilitating Accessibility
    Living with Parkinson’s often entails mobility difficulties. To address this, it is crucial to increase home accessibility. Installing sturdy handrails along staircases and in bathrooms offers stability and support. Furthermore, removing tripping hazards such as loose rugs or clutter reduces the risk of falls. Expanding doorways and hallways ensures smooth movement for mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs.
    2. Enhancing Illumination
    Parkinson’s disease can affect visual acuity, impairing clear sight. Thus, adequate lighting is vital to improve visibility and minimize accidents. Replacing dim or flickering bulbs with bright, energy-efficient alternatives is recommended. Task lighting in areas like the kitchen or study aids in performing detailed work. Motion-activated lights can be installed in hallways or bathrooms to provide illumination when necessary.3. Establishing a Secure Bathroom
    The bathroom can pose significant hazards for individuals with Parkinson’s due to its slippery surfaces. To counter this, installing grab bars near the toilet, shower, and bathtub ensures stability and prevents falls. Non-slip mats or adhesive strips should be placed on shower or bathtub floors to reduce the risk of slipping. Employing a raised toilet seat facilitates sitting down and standing up.4. Customizing the Kitchen
    Making modifications to the kitchen can substantially enhance independence for individuals with Parkinson’s. Lowering countertops and sinks reduces strain on the back and arms during tasks. Incorporating pull-out shelves or drawers simplifies access to items. Lever-style handles on cabinets and faucets are more manageable for those with limited dexterity. Using non-slip mats or rugs in front of the sink and stove minimizes the likelihood of slipping.HOW FAMILIES CAN HELP PARKINSON’S PATIENTS
    Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive neurological disorder affecting millions worldwide, can be better managed with the support and care of family members. While medical treatments are important, the role of family in improving the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients cannot be underestimated. Here are several ways in which families can provide support.

    1. a) Gaining Knowledge about the Disease
      The first step in assisting a Parkinson’s patient is to educate oneself about the disease. Knowing the symptoms, how it progresses, and available treatment options helps family members provide informed support. By understanding the challenges faced by these patients, family members can empathize and adjust their approach accordingly.
    2. b) Motivating Regular Exercise
      Regular exercise has proven to be highly beneficial for Parkinson’s patients. Encouraging and participating in exercise routines alongside the patient can enhance mobility, balance, and overall well-being. Activities like walking, swimming, or yoga can be enjoyable for both the patient and their family members.
      c) Aiding in Medication Management
      Managing Parkinson’s often requiresmultiple medications. Family members can play a crucial role in ensuring that these medications are taken as prescribed. This may involve organizing pillboxes, setting reminders, or accompanying the patient to medical appointments. By actively participating in medication management, family members can help prevent missed doses or potential drug interactions.

      1. Providing Emotional Support
        Living with Parkinson’s disease can be emotionally challenging for both patients and their families. It is crucial for family members to provide emotional support and create a safe space for open communication. Actively listening, offering reassurance, and practicing patience during difficult times can significantly impact the patient’s mental well-being.
      2. Assisting with Daily Activities
        As Parkinson’s progresses, patients may encounter difficulties with daily activities such as dressing, eating, or bathing. Family members can offer assistance with these tasks, ensuring the patient’s comfort and independence as much as possible. Modifying the living environment to accommodate the patient’s changing needs, such as installing handrails or removing trip hazards, can also improve safety and mobility.
      3. Engaging in Social Activities
        Parkinson’s patients often face social isolation. Family members can helpcombat this by encouraging social engagement and organizing activities that the patient enjoys. This may involve arranging family gatherings, outings with friends, or participating in support groups tailored for Parkinson’s patients and their families. Maintaining an active social life can uplift the patient’s mood and overall well-being.
        In conclusion, family members have a vital role in supporting Parkinson’s patients. By gaining knowledge about the disease, motivating exercise, aiding in medication management, providing emotional support, assisting with daily activities, and promoting social engagement, families can significantly enhance the quality of life for their loved ones with Parkinson’s disease. By working together as a team, they can create an environment that fosters independence, comfort, and overall well-being for the patient.”


        1. Cardiovascular Workouts:

        Cardiovascular workouts, also known as aerobic exercises, are imperative for maintaining a healthy heart and enhancing overall fitness levels.

        People with Parkinson’s disease can benefit greatly from engaging in aerobic exercises as it helps to improve stamina, reduce stiffness, and boost mood. Walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing are all fantastic options to consider. It is crucial to start off slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of these workouts. By engaging in regular aerobic exercises for at least 150 minutes per week, individuals can significantly enhance their cardio-vascular health and overall well-being.

        In addition to conventional aerobic exercises, some individuals with Parkinson’s disease may find high-intensity interval training (HIIT) beneficial. HIIT involves brief intervals of intense exercise followed by short recovery periods. This form of exercise has been proven to enhance motor function, balance, and cognitive abilities in people with Parkinson’s disease.

        2. Enhancing Balance and Coordination:

        Maintaining a sense of balance and coordination is crucial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to prevent falls and maintain their independence. Balance exercises may include activities such as standing on one leg, practicing heel-to-toe walking, or participating in yoga or tai chi. These exercises help to strengthen the muscles involved in maintaining balance and improve proprioception, which is the awareness of body position.

        Coordination exercises, such as playing catch or engaging in rhythmic movements, can also be advantageous for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. These exercises challenge the mind and body to work together, improving motor control and reducing the risk of falls.

        1. Promoting Flexibility and Stretching:

        Parkinson’s disease can lead to muscle stiffness and limited range of motion. Flexibility exercises can help alleviate these symptoms by increasing muscle elasticity and joint mobility. Gentle stretching exercises, such as rotating the neck, rolling the shoulders, and stretching the legs, can be performed daily to enhance flexibility.

        Yoga is an excellent choice for individuals with Parkinson’s disease as they combine stretching with balance and coordination exercises. These practices emphasize controlled movements and deep breathing, promoting relaxation and flexibility.

        1. Building Strength

        Maintaining muscle strength is crucial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease as it supports mobility and reduces the risk of falls. Strength training exercises should focus on major muscle groups, such as the legs, arms, back, and core.

        Resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines can be utilized for strength training. It is important to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance as tolerated. Exercises like squats, lunges, bicep curls, and chest presses can all be incorporated into a strength training routine.

        Acknowldgement for expert input

        1. https://www.parkinsonsdaily.com/

        2. https://hobbycents.com/hobby-lists/hobbies-for-parkinsons/
        3. https://www.parkinson.org/blog/tips/ hobbies-leisure
        4. https://safesmartseniors.com/best-hobbies-for-parkinsons-patients/


        Expert advice: Dr. Moeen

        Support groups for Pakinsons






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