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Parkinson's Disease with Dementia -
Special Challenges

By Sandra Fuson, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 4)

Other ideas that you may want to consider:

Keep travel plans simple. As much as possible, continue established routines if you need to travel.

Keep dangerous objects, such as knives, out of reach and out of sight. Other objects you may want to put away include ladders, step stools, small appliances that require supervision when in use, and anything else in your home environment that you think would be a danger to your loved one.

Use mental exercises to keep memory as sharp as possible. These include puzzles, card games, reading, listening to music, and even keeping a diary.
Continue a good exercise routine. This not only keeps the movement portion of PD under control, but it can aid in cognitive processing as well.

Keep dressing as simple as possible. Buttons and snaps can be a challenge. Slip-on clothing and even Velcro work well.

Get a wrist or pendant ID for your loved one to wear.  The Alzheimerís Association can provide one.

Financial Obligations:

Develop a plan for finances and how your loved oneís assets will be used before the dementia develops too much. Scientists have demonstrated that each year the person with dementia loses mental processing at more than twice the rate of a person without dementia. Youíll want to put these arrangements in place as soon as possible. Youíll want to consider:

Preparing a will and keeping it in a safe place.

Consulting a financial planner to decide how assets need to be used, dissolved, or otherwise distributed.

Deciding about long-term care options.

Deciding how bills will be paid on an ongoing basis Ė especially important if the person with Parkinsonís is not married, is widowed or lives alone (although they may not be able to continue living alone for long).

By making these decisions in advance, youíll save much stress later as the disease develops further.

Many people with Parkinsonís will not develop dementia. For those patients who do, it is important to learn your medical options and make adjustments to the home environment. Some of these adjustments can transition over time, while others need to be made more quickly. Even with dementia, the person will have good days and days that thought processes are not as sharp. By keeping the lines of communication open with your doctor, the disease can be managed as effectively as possible, despite its debilitating effects on daily living.

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