Stony Brook Medicine Health News

Parkinson’s Disease Self-Care: 5 At-Home Tips to Support Your Health

Living with Parkinson’s Disease can be challenging. However, by making small changes to your routine, you can preserve physical function and improve quality of life. Adjustments to diet, exercise, and sleep routines can help you to manage symptoms, while improving your overall well-being and regaining a sense of control over your personal health. 

While navigating this disease can be difficult and often unpredictable, there are simple ways to nurture your well-being from home. Let’s explore some Parkinson’s Disease self-care tips designed to bring you comfort and support, making your daily routine a bit smoother. 

5 Parkinson’s Disease Self-Care Tips

1. Stay Active, Move Safely

Incorporating gentle exercises into your routine supports balance, flexibility, and coordination. Consider the following exercises to keep your body active and enhance your mobility: 

  • Walking: Take short walks around your home or in a nearby safe environment. Ask a friend or loved one to join you. 
  • Stretching: Gently stretch your arms, legs, and torso to improve flexibility. For example, pull your right arm across your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulder and upper arm. After 30 seconds, switch to the other arm. Watch gentle yoga videos from home for more stretching exercises.   
  • Seated Movements: While sitting, try leg lifts, arm circles, and side-to-side movements to promote circulation and flexibility.

Remember, these exercises are designed to be gentle and adaptable, so you can move at your own pace and comfort level. We recommend speaking with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

2. Eat Well for Energy

Maintaining a well-balanced diet is essential for people with Parkinson’s because it provides the necessary nutrients to sustain energy levels and support overall health. Be sure to include “brain foods” in your meals and snacks, including nuts, berries, dark leafy greens, and healthy fats like avocado and salmon. 

When managing Parkinson’s, consider opting for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This approach helps regulate blood sugar levels, preventing energy dips and promoting a steady supply of nutrients to support your body’s needs. It’s a simple way to nourish your body consistently.

3. Get Plenty of Rest and Relaxation

Getting enough rest is key for individuals with Parkinson’s, as the body takes longer to repair itself and brain changes that are connected to Parkinson’s can disrupt sleep. Unfortunately, some Parkinson’s medications also cause disrupted sleep. 

Quality sleep can positively impact symptom management, and having a consistent sleep routine supports both physical and mental health. Try to establish a daily sleep and wake time, allowing your body to respond to your rest routine. 

Consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily schedule. Simple practices like the 10 deep breaths exercise, meditation, sitting outdoors or in a sunny window (with sunscreen, of course), or listening to calming music can be beneficial. These techniques help manage stress, promote a sense of peace, and contribute to a more restful state. Choose practices that bring you the most relaxation and comfort.

4. Stay Social and Connect

Maintaining personal connections with friends and family is essential for people with Parkinson’s. Nurturing your relationships will provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. Whether it’s through in-person visits, phone calls, video chats, or even texting, staying socially engaged will help combat feelings of isolation and promote overall well-being.

Consider joining a support group or an online community specifically for individuals with Parkinson’s. Sharing experiences with others who understand your journey can be incredibly empowering. These communities offer a platform to exchange advice, gain insights, and form connections with those facing similar challenges. 

5. Medication Management

Maintaining an organized and consistent approach to medication is a critical part of Parkinson’s Disease self-care. Establish a daily routine for taking your medications to ensure timely and effective dosages. Consider using pill organizers or setting alarms as helpful reminders.

Regular check-ins with your doctors are also important, especially if you have concerns or notice any changes in your symptoms. Open communication allows for adjustments to your medication plan, making sure it aligns with your evolving needs. 

Wellness Your Way

Remember, self-care for Parkinson’s is about finding what works best for you, and even small steps at home can make a big difference in how you feel each day. Your wellness routine is personal and needs to work for you, and embracing it with a positive mindset can make a significant difference. 

Stay connected with those around you, focus on finding joy in the little things, and continue nurturing yourself with the self-care practices that resonate most with your unique needs. 

To learn more about the best supplements for Parkinson’s disease, read this article featuring Dr. Guy Schwartz, co-chair of the Stony Brook Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center.

  • Guy Schwartz, MD

    Dr. Guy Schwartz is board certified in Neurology. He has special clinical interests in neurological movement disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's Disease.

This article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature. Always consult your healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance and treatment.