Living well with Parkinson’s is possible. The first step is to understand the disease.
Each individual with Parkinson’s Disease experiences a blend of symptoms as unique as they are. Therefore, each will need customized support. There is no way to cure, or slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease — yet — but there are ways to manage its symptoms.
People with Parkinson’s should take their medications or other treatments as directed by their doctor. Understanding the disease, getting plenty of rest and regular exercise, and keeping safety in mind, will also help minimize complications and support a good quality of life.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease develop slowly over a number of years. By the time symptoms are noticeable, the disease is fairly advanced. Parkinson’s disease causes gradual changes in the brain that affect multiple areas of functioning.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include those that affect movement, and those that don’t.
Some early movement signs of Parkinson’s can include:
- Tremor (shaky hands)
- Changes in handwriting, often becoming small and hard to read
- Trouble moving or walking
- Stiff arms or legs
- Feet feel “stuck to the floor”
Other early signs of Parkinson’s can include:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Trouble sleeping, especially moving or acting out dreams when asleep.
- Change in voice, especially a voice that becomes very soft, low or hoarse
- Face loses expression or always looks serious, depressed or angry
- Dizziness or fainting
- Hunched posture
As Parkinson’s Diseases progresses, additional symptoms may include:
- Cognitive changes, including confusion, memory loss or dementia
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Delusions (believing false beliefs, even in the face of evidence to the contrary)
- Changes in mood
- Changes in urination
- Lightheadedness upon standing
- Weight loss
- Changes in walking
- Frequent falls
- Swallowing difficulty
Treatment Depends on each Individual’s Symptoms
Supporting a good quality of life for a senior with Parkinson’s disease includes minimizing the symptoms that are affecting it. Many people with Parkinson’s prefer to stay in their own homes, even as they need more help, so supporting that desire can be key to living well with the disease.
Elder care services can do quite a bit to support a person with Parkinson’s to live safely and well in their own home. Elder care agencies offer customizable services to assist with the challenges of aging.
Fatigue and sleep disturbance are frequently experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease. Elder care aides can minimize fatigue by helping with household chores or errands so the senior can conserve their energy for the things that truly matter to them.
Elder care aides can also support sleep by helping a senior with a relaxing bedtime routine, such as a warm bath, lavender lotion and a foot massage.
Exercise can help minimize complications of Parkinson’s including constipation, sleep disturbance and low mood. Elder care aides can walk with seniors, or drive them to a community pool, gym or senior exercise class.
Safety is a big concern for people with Parkinson’s disease. Preventing falls is a huge priority. Elder care aides can help by assisting with walking and safe transfers, or with other risky activities, such as showering.
Eating safety to prevent choking is another safety concern. Elder care aides can prepare soft, easy to swallow foods, and help a senior adhere to personalized safe swallow guidelines determined by a speech and swallow therapist.
People with Parkinson’s need customized support, and elder care services are set up precisely for this purpose.
If you or a loved need assistance with Elder Law in Mountain Brook, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101.