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Creating New Neural Pathways When You Have Parkinson’s

It was only recently that the accepted school of thought shifted from believing that the adult brain is incapable of adjusting and changing to realizing that new pathways can be formed or inactive ones can be reused for other purposes (referred to as neuroplasticity). Creating new neural pathways (how “messages” are transferred within the brain) can often be accomplished with the right focus and motivation. Here are a few tips from leading Albuquerque Parkinson’s care provider, Home Care Assistance.

Determine Goals

Clearly determine the goals you want to achieve. By identifying the task(s) you wish to achieve, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges you’re likely to face. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you set realistic goals based on your capabilities, with the following goals common among seniors with Parkinson’s disease:

• Improving cognitive skills
• Compensating for motor difficulties
• Sharpening memory recall and retention

Understand Obstacles

It’s just as important to have realistic expectations and understand the obstacles you’re likely to face, especially when dealing with a condition with as many variables as PD. Realize that it’s not an overnight process. There may be underlying physical and psychological factors contributing to the limitations you’re trying to overcome.

Keep Practicing

It takes repeated actions for new pathways to form and take the place of older neural pathways that have weakened or worn off from injury or non-use. It’s the repeated practice that solidifies new neural pathways, a process that can take anywhere from a few months to several months or longer, depending on the complexity of the tasks involved.

Stay Motivated

Acknowledge any progress made while relearning skills or fine-tuning existing abilities and keep your goals in mind. Envisioning the payoff, whether it is walking with little or no assistance or increasing concentration and clarity, can provide the added incentive you need to stay focused.

Scientists can now say with certainty that the human brain is constantly reorganizing and readjusting to compensate for neural pathways that become damaged or blocked. By acknowledging and encouraging this process, seniors previously resigned to the loss of some functioning now have new hope that some of those skills and abilities may be relearned over time as new neural pathways form.

If you or someone you know has challenges completing everyday tasks due to Parkinson’s symptoms, reach out to Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of home care in Albuquerque, we offer the additional help seniors with Parkinson’s need to life safe, happy, comfortable lives at home. For more information, call a friendly Care Manager at 505-798-0800 and schedule a free in-home consultation.