If Your Loved One Has Parkinson’s Disease, Be Sure You Know the Heimlich Maneuver


Posted on April 27th, by Mark Winter in Senior Health, Sonoma Elder Care. No Comments

Heimlich maneuverIf your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you’ve likely become familiar with the most common symptoms: Tremors. Unsteady gait and balance. Slower movements. But you may not have realized another serious concern: difficulty with eating that can lead to choking.

Chewing and swallowing issues are, unfortunately, all too common in those with Parkinson’s disease, especially in the later stages of the disease. Since Parkinson’s patients are at a heightened risk of choking, everyone involved in the senior’s care should learn how to correctly perform the Heimlich maneuver in the event of an emergency.

Someone who is choking may gasp or cough, but will be unable to speak or breathe and needs immediate assistance. To perform the Heimlich maneuver on the person exhibiting signs of choking, follow these steps:

  1. Standing behind the person, wrap your arms around his or her waist.
  2. Make a fist and place the thumb of that fist against the person’s upper abdomen, beneath the ribcage and above the navel.
  3. Clasp your fist with your other hand and push into the person’s upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Be sure not to squeeze the person’s ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  4. Repeat as needed until the food particle or other object is expelled.

Note that it’s vitally important for the person to be seen immediately by a physician following a choking incident.

At Hired Hands Homecare, we recommend that anyone providing care for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s disease take a class to learn both CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. We’re also on hand to provide additional resources and hands-on care for those with Parkinson’s disease, with our fully trained and experienced California senior care team. Contact us at 866-940-4343 or complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help.





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