Caregivers whose senior clients have Parkinson's disease know that it can affect movement in several ways, most noticeably in the ability to hold objects or walk in a normal stride. The Parkinson mPower study app provides in-app daily tests to gauge abilities of patients with Parkinson's and transmit the data to scientists for research purposes.
The study is conducted by Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit, looking to help determine why symptoms differ between individuals who have Parkinson's disease and why symptoms and side effects vary over time. The app uses surveys and tests through the phone sensors to determine daily abilities and track symptoms over time.
Users first need to set up an account and consent to share the results of their trials from the app. A background survey that needs to only be taken once allows senior clients the chance to give the researchers background on themselves and their individual experience with Parkinson's disease.
The three main abilities the phone sensors test are gait, balance and speaking. For the walking activity, users need to place their phone in a pocket or bag and walk 20 steps in a straight line. The phone uses GPS data to track the results.
For the tapping speed activity, users must place two fingers on the phone screen and tap back and forth as quickly as possible for 20 seconds. The app records the overall number of taps and the consistency of the timing between taps. For the voice activity, users need to record themselves saying, "ahhhhh" for as long as they can at a steady volume into the microphone on their phone.
Caregivers should encourage their senior clients participating in the study to take each test three times per day. The app needs users to accurately record whether they are performing the activity before taking a Parkinson medication, just after taking a Parkinson medication or if they don't take Parkinson medication. On the Dashbord within the app, users can see their performance on the tests charted out over time to recognize patterns.
Other areas of the app highlight the study, the researchers and further information on Parkinson's disease itself. The app offers tips on living with Parkinson's disease to minimize symptoms, such as healthy eating, exercise, and avoiding falls. Senior caregivers can use this section to learn more about the disease if their senior client is newly diagnosed.
The Parkinson mPower study app is available for Apple platforms.
Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.
Seniors with age-related illnesses sometimes experience difficulty with eating, because of tremors which cause shaking in their hands and arms. Now, a new spoon offers a solution. Many times it is not the disease, but the medications taken to treat the disease, which result in a side-effect causing tremors in the body. This “shaking” results in the inability to control body movements.
Seniors and their caregivers must then cope with the additional side-effects, such as the inability to eat or walk without assistance. Now, new technology has stepped in to assist seniors with this added challenge.
Lift Labs researchers have developed a spoon which counteracts the movements of a wavering grip, reducing the shaking by 70%. A knife and fork will soon be added to this technology.
A new baby often receives a new baby spoon to celebrate their birth and now all of us may be receiving a senior spoon to assist us as we celebrate, or lament, entering into our senior years.
Aging comes with challenges, as we lose many of the freedoms we may have taken for granted when we were younger. The ability to know you can eat a meal on your own is one such freedom. Perhaps as the senior population continues to grow, more technologies will transfer over to innovate solutions for healthy aging. Senior caregivers may learn more about these new spoons at Lift Labs.
Seniors needing additional care may also explore the costs of senior care and their care options in their area with a digital care plan.
Parkinson's disease impacts many seniors in their later years, although some people are diagnosed with the disease when they are younger, such as actor Michael J. Fox. This week, as 3,000 experts in neurology gathered for the annual European Neurological Society (ENS) meeting in Barcelona, Dr. Heinz Reichmann shared study results involving 1,331 German Parkinson's disease patients.
The Neurology Study Found:
- 15% of Parkson's pateints suffer collaterally from dementia
- 11% suffer from both dementia and depression
- 9% suffer from dementia and psychosis
- 40% to 50% suffer from depression
Nearly all Parkinson's sufferers are affected by dementia if they live long enough. Research reveals that cognitive decline and depression often worsen the quality of life more than the movement disorder itself and may inhibit the positive results of other therapies.
Depression is mainly caused by the dismantling of those systems which release the monoamine neurotransmitters and the malfunctioning of the frontal lobe and the cerebral cortex.
Motor impairments in Parkinson's are often associated with an incorrect concentration of dopamine in the blood plasma.
The neurology doctors are continuing to explore and research effective treatments which include psychosocial support, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, drug therapy as well as electroconvulsive therapy.
Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Parkinson's disease may consider continued caregiver training to keep up with the age-related illnesses.
The European Societies for Neurology also announced a merger this week during the Barcelona meeting. Going forward the European Neurological Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies are merging to be called the European Academy of Neurology.