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Parkinson’s disease: Signs and Symptoms, Home Care, and More

According to Stats Canada, Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. This progressive disease often develops gradually with very subtle symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s

A very slight hand tremor is often the first sign a person may notice. Other early symptoms of Parkinson’s are the same as those that we’re quick to brush off as a normal part of aging, such stiffness or moving slower when walking or getting up from a chair. As the disease progresses, symptoms worsen.

Other signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Balance problems, such as stooping or trouble maintaining balance when standing or walking
  • Speech changes, such as slurring words or hesitating before speaking
  • Impairment of movements that we make without thinking, such as smiling, blinking, or arms swinging when walking

Parkinson’s causes changes that can make even simple daily tasks difficult, which can be scary and frustrating. It’s not uncommon for a person with Parkinson’s to lash out or experience mood swings, especially as the disease progresses and begins to affect sleep and the ability to think clearly.

Caring for Someone with Parkinson’s

As the disease can come on very gradually, your loved one may be able to maintain their independence for some time, but as it progresses, it will become more difficult for them to manage, even with loving family home care. It’s not easy to watch your loved one lose the ability to do the things they used to, and being unable to give them the care they require can be difficult to accept.  Fortunately, with the right type of senior care, a person with Parkinson’s can continue to maintain some independence while continuing to live in the comfort of home.

Access to a variety of home care services that can be adapted as the disease worsens and brings new challenges is crucial. It’s difficult to think about the later stages of this degenerative condition, but the reality is that there will come a time when you won’t be able to provide much of the help that your loved one needs. This is why planning ahead and choosing the right assisted living service is so important; so you will have the right type of help when the time comes.

You’ll want to consider home health care agencies that offer varied and flexible services ranging from help with basic care at home to advanced home care, such as RN supervised care. A home care agency with staff trained in caring for those with chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s is also important.

Don’t Forget to Care for Yourself

Caring for a person with a chronic illness is overwhelming and takes a toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing.  A 2012 survey by Stats Canada found that among caregivers who spent at least 2 hours each week—34% helping a spouse and 21% who helped their parents—reported feeling depressed. Caregiver burnout is quite common, but can be avoided when you take steps to look after yourself.

When considering enlisting home care assistance, remember to also think of the services that give you what you need, such as respite care so that you can get a break when you need it with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is in good hands.

The right type of home care can make all the difference for you and the person with Parkinson’s.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

Article Resources:
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2014011/article/14112-eng.htm
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2013001/article/11858-eng.htm

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