Parkinson’s and after
For V.V.S. Rao (VVSR), a senior citizen, life has not been same even since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Over the last year and a half, VVSR has had two falls. Although he escaped unhurt, VVSR developed a fear of falling which led him to cut down on his physical activities as a result of which he started experiencing weakness. He could not muster the courage to get back to his normal activities. The senior citizen who once led a very active life suddenly became lethargic and his confidence level dropped.
VVSR hires a home attendant
Caregiver Mamali Behra
What changed with elder assistance?
“Main training leke ayee hoon; Main apko nahi giraoongi, trust me,” (I’m a trained caregiver, I’ll not let you fall, trust me) she’d keep telling VVSR in a bid to convince him to co-operate with her. They followed a basic exercise schedule thrice a day. He also started walking every evening, with support from Mamali. All this was a part of VVSR’s Patient Care Plan that Mamali followed. Over time, his balance, strength and flexibility improved.
Mamali understands that falls can affect the quality of a senior’s life adversely. She knows that falls can be prevented to a large extent. Therefore, keeping VVSR’s bathroom dry always is a high priority for her. Also, when she notices any kind of perils that may lead to a fall, she is quick to take precautions.
“He could barely walk; his neck was very stiff too. Now look at him, he can walk 10 lengths along the corridor without support. See his neck, he’s able to move it 180 degrees,” says Mamali with a deep sense of satisfaction. VVSR is very fond of Mamali. Her joie de vivre has uplifted his spirit.
Elderly care training at Life Circle
Life Circle’s caregiver training covers basic physiotherapy (gentle exercises) for seniors, the importance of fall prevention and aspects of mobility assistance for seniors with different conditions. A qualified nurse constantly supports caregivers on their job and ensures that they follow the personalised care plan or PCP. In many cases, caregivers work along with a physiotherapist to follow an exercise plan for the patient.
Evidence on Mobility
Researchers have found that being afraid of falling directly affects one’s mobility. Physical activity can go a long way towards fall prevention. Balance in standing and walking is a skill that older adults can learn to maintain and/or improve. It is widely believed that gentle exercise, walking, strength training, yoga, etc. reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Furthermore, any exercise mentioned in the care plan needs to be approved by the treating doctor and the physiotherapist.