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The Kensington Summer Concert Series
Stop By For Music, Dancing & Tour Our Community
Saturday, August 3rd. Click HERE & RSVP Today!
Open Mobile Menu
seniors hands holding a cane

Managing the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease: Dyskinesia

According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and coordination. It involves the malfunction and degeneration of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons.

Today, an estimated one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. The disease is chronic and its symptoms get worse with time. Typically, the person afflicted with advanced PD is unable to live alone without round-the-clock assistance. Although there is no treatment that slows the progression, symptoms can be managed well with the appropriate care.

Primary signs of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, or torso
  • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Advanced Parkinson’s includes:

  • Great difficulty walking
  • Becoming wheelchair- or bed-bound
  • Needing assistance with all daily activities (eating, bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Experiencing dementia and significant memory loss

Understanding Dyskinesia

Mary Ann Durso, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing at The Kensington in White Plains, NY, says, “One of the common and more noticeable symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is called ‘dyskinesia.’ Medical experts describe dyskinesia as a difficulty or distortion in performing voluntary movements, which often occurs as a side effect of long-term therapy with the drug, levodopa. Dyskinetic movements look like smooth tics—sometimes like an uncoordinated dance.

“Dyskinesia normally improves with a reduction or redistribution of levodopa therapy, but this is usually followed by an increase in rigidity or tremors. For this reason, an active exercise and physical therapy program such as you’ll find at The Kensington Assisted Living community is very important.

“As the American Parkinson Disease Association has noted, exercise plays an essential role in keeping a person with Parkinson’s healthy. The best types of exercise for improving mobility utilize both physical and cognitive elements to enhance motor skills. Stress reduction exercises such as yoga and tai chi can also be helpful in managing symptoms.”

Specialized Care for Loved Ones with Parkinson’s Disease

For loved ones living with Parkinson’s, The Kensington provides a variety of exercise and wellness programs, including Fox Optimal Living (FOL), which is an on-site wellness program designed to fit all of the cognitive and fitness levels of our residents. Through all of these wellness programs, including FOL, we work to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by increasing strength and mobility, relieving some stiffness and improving balance and coordination.

Our physical therapy program is designed to improve mobility and balance for those with PD, while occupational therapy can provide strategies for maintaining independence. Through our on-site rehabilitation provided by Fox Rehab, residents with Parkinson’s have access to:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Exercise physiology
  • Functional assessments
  • Fall and balance assessments

The Kensington: Uniquely Qualified to Care for Those with Parkinson’s Disease

Adds Durso, “When it comes to caring for loved ones with Parkinson’s disease, The Kensington is truly unique. We use our Enhanced Assisted Living license to the fullest extent, allowing us to take care of those with extremely high care needs such as PD. This enables our residents to truly age in place without the worry of being moved to another location for their care.

“Other senior living providers may be unfamiliar with advanced PD’s unique symptoms or challenges. In addition, many of these providers cannot or will not take care of residents with advanced Parkinson’s – for example, once a resident becomes bed-bound, has difficulty swallowing or develops late-stage dementia.”

By contrast, The Kensington’s care team can care for residents who need a puréed diet or feeding tube due to swallowing difficulties, residents with early-to late-stage dementia and more. Our staff receives specialized training, and with a higher caregiver-to-resident staffing ratio, we are able to provide the comprehensive assistance and support our residents with Parkinson’s disease need and deserve.

“We’re always here for you to help meet the changing needs of seniors,” says Durso.

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