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5 Major Concerns for Aging Adults with Cerebral Palsy

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Decades ago, cerebral palsy was considered a children’s disease, but today there are also many adults and seniors living with the disorder. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Nashville families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

As they grow older, seniors with cerebral palsy face many risks and challenges. Here are 5 of the most common risks faced by seniors with the disorder. 

1. Increased Pain 

If your elderly loved one has cerebral palsy, he or she will likely have increased pain in the knees, hips, neck, and back. Cerebral palsy often leads to early-onset arthritis in aging adults. To prevent this, your loved one should try spasticity management and other forms of treatment that focus on correcting muscle and skeletal abnormalities. 

2. Slips and Falls 

Seniors with cerebral palsy are at a higher risk of falls because of decreased mobility. The risk of falling increases with age, and the bone deformities and muscle abnormalities caused by cerebral palsy can lead to fatigue and weakness, further raising the risk of falls. If your loved one has cerebral palsy, he or she may have to use more energy when walking, compared to seniors who don’t have the condition. To prevent this, your loved one may need to use a wheelchair to get around. Consider hiring an in-home caregiver to help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and moving from room to room.

There is some evidence to suggest that the gene causing cerebral palsy also raises the risk of Alzheimer’s in seniors. If your loved one develops Alzheimer’s, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Nashville, TN, Alzheimer’s home care experts are trained in methods that are designed to slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Using a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, Alzheimer’s caregivers keep seniors mentally engaged with exciting activities so they can maintain better cognitive health in the golden years.

3. Difficulty Eating

Damage to the nervous system, neck, or head often causes swallowing disorders in seniors with cerebral palsy. Since this disorder causes impaired motor function, it may be difficult for your loved one to finish meals. Look for symptoms like chest congestion, coughing right after eating and drinking, weight loss, dehydration, and poor nutrition. Speak with your loved one’s doctor about treatments and ways to manage the swallowing disorder. 

4. Depression 

As seniors with cerebral palsy grow older, their emotional health becomes a cause for concern. The rate of depression is higher for seniors than in younger adults. Your loved one needs to receive emotional support from family and friends. Sign him or her up for support groups and local organizations that help aging adults with cerebral palsy manage their condition and maintain an optimistic outlook on the future.

5. Dental Conditions

Seniors with cerebral palsy are at increased risk for periodontal disease and dental cavities. The effects of medication and poor dental hygiene are some of the reasons seniors with this disorder have dental issues. Impaired physical coordination and cognitive skills can make it difficult for your loved one to brush or floss. Simplify his or her oral care by purchasing a power toothbrush and a floss holder. Speak with a doctor if your loved one has gingival hyperplasia and other dental issues caused by medications. The doctor may have suggestions or treatment alternatives.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in home care. Nashville, TN, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call (615) 656-4999 to learn more about our home care services, which can be customized to meet your loved one’s needs.