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5 Concerns for Aging Adults with Cerebral Palsy

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Seniors who have cerebral palsy often manage a range of symptoms, including depression and muscle weakness. If your loved one has cerebral palsy, learning more about the disease and its effects is the first step to finding the right treatments.

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Rhode Island families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide dedicated and compassionate in-home caregivers who are trained in our holistic Balanced Care Method, which was designed to encourage seniors to exercise often, eat nutritious foods, maintain strong social ties, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

1. Loss of Mobility

Seniors with cerebral palsy often experience increased pain, which can lead to reduced mobility and a greater risk of falls. Increased pain is most common in the knees, back, and hips and may be related to early onset arthritis, which can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected joints.

Arthritis also decreases range of motion, which significantly reduces mobility. Installing safety features such as grab bars in bathrooms and using walkers or wheelchairs to aid mobility can reduce the risk of falls. Your loved one’s physician can recommend exercises and prescribe medications to help control pain.

2. Difficulty Eating

Seniors with cerebral palsy may have trouble chewing or swallowing food, which can cause malnutrition. The inability to eat may be particularity challenging if your loved one also has a reduced appetite as a natural result of aging. Malnutrition can also lead to diseases such as osteoporosis. 

Talk to a physician to develop a meal plan for your loved one that identifies foods that are nutritious, have the ideal texture, and are easy to chew and swallow. You and any other caregiver should also learn CPR if your loved one has difficulty swallowing.

Rhode Island elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

3. Post-Impairment Syndrome

Post-impairment syndrome is a common condition in seniors who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This condition is characterized by arthritis, fatigue, weakness, and repetitive motion injuries. Your loved one may not have enough energy for everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, or he or she may have muscle weakness that prevents completing tasks like opening jars. To reduce the risk of muscle weakness, your loved one should work with an occupational therapist. Typically, physical therapy is most effective when it is performed early in life, but it can also be beneficial for seniors with cerebral palsy.

4. Emotional Disorders 

Seniors are at a high risk of developing depression, a cognitive disorder characterized by sadness, lack of interest in activities, tiredness, and suicidal thoughts. Depression is also common among adults with cerebral palsy, which is why you should monitor your loved one’s emotional health carefully. If you suspect your loved one is depressed, talk to his or her physician. Medications and therapies are available to treat depression.

5. Bone Malformations and Other Diseases

Adults with cerebral palsy are more likely to develop bone malformations such as scoliosis. Cerebral palsy also increases the risk of developing certain diseases, including hypertension and bladder malfunctions. Regular doctor visits and routine medications are recommended to identify and control diseases that occur in seniors with cerebral palsy.

Alzheimer’s is sometimes linked to cerebral palsy. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s home care. Rhode Island seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset. Call Home Care Assistance at (401) 284-0979 to speak to a qualified Care Manager and schedule a complimentary consultation.