Making Your Home Safe
As Parkinson’s progresses, a person with the condition experiences more mobility issues. They’ll need more assistance going about their day-to-day lives. Getting around their home safely might also become a little more challenging.
Here are a couple of things you can do to make your home safer for a person with Parkinson’s disease:
- Keep the floors clear: Any things that can easily be tripped over on the floors of your home, like electrical cords, should be kept away. Keep the usual path they take through the house as clear as possible.
- Install ramps when needed: At the later stages of Parkinson’s, a person’s mobility might become so restricted that they need a wheelchair. It’s essential to make your home wheelchair-friendly and accessible if this happens.
- Make your bathroom safer: Install grab bars around the tub and anti-slip mats in them if you have a bathtub. Also, keep personal hygiene products within easy reach to prevent them from slipping or falling over trying to reach for them.
How Is Parkinsons Managed
There is currently no cure for Parkinsons but there are medications and therapies that can help to manage Parkinsons symptoms.
Medicines that increase the level of dopamine in the brain are the main treatment used to manage the symptoms of Parkinsons. Medicines are tailored to each individuals needs.
Symptoms will get worse when someones Parkinsons medicines are wearing off and improve again after Parkinsons medicines are taken. If people with Parkinsons dont get their medication at the right time, it leads to their motor symptoms becoming uncontrolled. It can take some time to get their symptoms under control again. If you work in a hospital or care home, it is important to be aware that medicine timings will vary from person to person and may be different to ward medicine rounds.
As well as medicines, surgical options are available for some people with Parkinsons, depending on their symptoms.
Treatments can help to manage the symptoms, but may become less effective in the later stages of the condition.
Parkinsons UK has more information on how Parkinsons affects people and how it can be managed.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Early symptoms of this disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinsons. They may see that the persons face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s disease often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward take small, quick steps and reduce swinging their arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms may still be more severe on one side than on the other.
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How Does This Condition Affect My Body
Parkinsons disease causes a specific area of your brain, the basal ganglia, to deteriorate. As this area deteriorates, you lose the abilities those areas once controlled. Researchers have uncovered that Parkinsons disease causes a major shift in your brain chemistry.
Under normal circumstances, your brain uses chemicals known as neurotransmitters to control how your brain cells communicate with each other. When you have Parkinsons disease, you dont have enough dopamine, one of the most important neurotransmitters.
When your brain sends activation signals that tell your muscles to move, it fine-tunes your movements using cells that require dopamine. Thats why lack of dopamine causes the slowed movements and tremors symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the symptoms expand and intensify. Later stages of the disease often affect how your brain functions, causing dementia-like symptoms and depression.
Can Parkinson’s Disease Be Cured
No, Parkinson’s disease is not curable. However, it is treatable, and many treatments are highly effective. It might also be possible to delay the progress and more severe symptoms of the disease.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Parkinson’s disease is a very common condition, and it is more likely to happen to people as they get older. While Parkinson’s isn’t curable, there are many different ways to treat this condition. They include several different classes of medications, surgery to implant brain-stimulation devices and more. Thanks to advances in treatment and care, many can live for years or even decades with this condition and can adapt to or receive treatment for the effects and symptoms.
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What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
What To Expect When A Loved One Has Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes a gradual loss of muscle control. Although the disorder generally occurs in elderly people, it is occasionally seen in younger adults. In fact, roughly 5-to-10% of all Parkinsons disease cases occur before the age of 50.
Parkinsons disease usually evolves in five distinct stages:
It is important to remember that Parkinsons disease affects each patient differently. While some may remain in Stage 1 for years, others advance quickly. Some people might even skip one more stage of disease progression entirely.
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease, but prescription medications, deep brain stimulation, and certain therapies will usually alleviate or lessen symptoms. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help people with Parkinsons disease improve muscle strength and balance.
While Parkinsons disease itself is not fatal, its debilitating effects do increase the potential for deadly complications. Because swallowing issues may cause aspiration of food or liquids into their lungs, pneumonia is the most common cause of death among people with Parkinsons disease. Worsening mobility and balance problems also increase their risk for fatal falls.
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Other Tips For Caregivers
Arming yourself with the proper knowledge and preparing for the degenerating symptoms of the condition are the first and most essential steps for a caregiver taking care of a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.
Other tips that can make this challenging prospect a little more manageable include:
- Maintain a healthy diet: Maintaining a healthy diet for your loved ones is as important as ensuring they stay on their medication and treatment plan.
- Ask for help: Don’t feel like you have to take on all of the care alone. If you can afford it, you can hire assistance or reach out to other family and friends to help you with the care.
Foster A Good Relationship
Lastly, maintaining your relationship and communication with the person with Parkinsonâs can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of caregiving. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, the roles change and the person with Parkinsonâs may go from being an independent head of the household to a very dependent person requiring a significant level of care. However, research shows that despite high levels of strain, caregivers with good quality relationships have reduced depression and better physical health. Remember, as a caregiver your service to your loved one is beyond measure in terms of love, depth of care, and concern.
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S For Caring For A Person With Parkinsons Dementia
Parkinsons disease is known for its associated motor symptoms, such as tremor and slowed movement. People can be surprised to learn that cognitive changes are among common PD non-motor symptoms. Significant cognitive impairment can impact care partners, too. Education and healthy coping strategies ensure everyones best care.
The following article is based on a Parkinsons Foundation Expert Briefings webinar exploring care partner strategies to identify and help people with PD dementia, hosted by Joseph Quinn, MD, a neurologist at Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center. Dr. Quinn, the Parkinsons Center director for both institutions, focuses his research on cognitive decline prevention and dementia treatment.
What is PD Dementia?
Mild cognitive impairment is very common with Parkinsons disease. It can impact memory and thinking but doesnt always affect daily activities. Dementia, however, is when cognitive changes impact daily living. Dementia may or may not occur in people with PD. According to recent research, 30 percent of people with Parkinsons do not develop dementia as part of the disease progression.
The different types of dementia include:
Parkinsons Disease Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia Family Checklist
Residential Care Options For Pdd: Assisted Living Memory Care & Nursing Homes
People with advancing Parkinsons disease will find it difficult and then impossible to perform basic tasks like dressing or preparing ones own food. This makes caregiving essential, but it becomes much harder when dementia develops, and you may need to find a long-term care home with staff to serve your loved ones needs. There are not long-term-care communities exclusively for people with Parkinsons disease, but assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes are options to consider when keeping your loved one in the house is no longer viable. Any of these will provide meals, assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing, supervision, and emergency medical care. Where they differ is in the amount of care provided and cost.
With the onset of dementia symptoms, memory care becomes the better option because staff is specifically trained to assist and communicate with people who show symptoms of dementia. Special design features and security measures also distinguish memory care from other living options. Basically, this is the best choice for people with dementia symptoms who cannot stay safe without full-time care and supervision.
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Is There A Test To Diagnose Pd Dementia
There is no single test for PDD. The diagnosis is made clinically. If you or someone you spend time with notices cognitive changes, it is important to discuss them with your care team. If you dont have a care team in place, its important to find a specialist or physician familiar with dementia or geriatric medicine. Call the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline 1-800-4PD-INFO for a referral.
Professional Treatments & Lifestyle Changes
After being diagnosed with Parkinsons, the average person is going to be put on at least one or two medications. These drugs are usually designed to trigger the production of dopamine, which lessens the symptoms. Some seniors also undergo alternative treatments, such as deep brain stimulation, and many of those procedures have very high success rates. In addition to getting professional treatment, seniors with Parkinsons must also dedicate themselves to making healthy lifestyle choices. Exercising, socializing, getting plenty of sleep, and sticking to a nutritious diet can all be very beneficial.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior with Parkinsons. Families looking for top-rated senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimers, dementia, stroke, and Parkinsons care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. To learn about our high-quality in-home care options, give us a call at 573-4213 today.
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What Other Things Help
There are various ways to help a person with PDD. Speech therapy may help improve communication between people with PDD and others. Physical therapy may help strengthen and stretch stiff muscles and help to prevent falls.
Research has shown that physical exercise helps to enhance brain health and improves mood and general fitness. A balanced diet, enough sleep and limited alcohol intake are other important ways to promote good brain health. Other illnesses that affect the brain, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, should also be treated if present.
What Is The Best Way To Communicate With A Person With Pdd
- It is not usually helpful to try to reason or argue with someone experiencing a hallucination or delusion. Stay calm and be patient. If the person is frightened by the hallucination or delusion, try to redirect their attention to something else.
- You may find acknowledging what the person is seeing, even if you do not see it, can reduce stress.
- Speak slowly and at eye level. Communicate in simple sentences.
- Ask one question at a time and wait for an answer.
- Limit distractions. Turn off the TV or radio before asking a person with PDD to do something.
- Consider causes behind disruptive behavior: the person may be hungry, thirsty, tired, in pain, frustrated, lonely or bored.
- If the person is stuck on an idea, try agreeing with them, then changing the subject.
- Its OK to use humor to diffuse stressful situations but avoid negative humor or sarcasm these can be misunderstood.
Page reviewed by Dr. Jori Fleisher, MSCE, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
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Tips For Communicating With Your Parent
- Avoid power struggles. Dont push, nag or harangue your parents. Making ultimatums will only get their backs up, and yelling, arguing or slamming doors could seriously damage the relationship. Laura Ellen Christian, 15 Expert Tips for When Your Aging Parents Wont Listen, The Arbor Company Twitter:
- Ask about your loved ones preferences. Does your loved one have a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved ones wishes, its important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.
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Recognize Parkinsons Disease Symptoms In A Loved One
Close friends and family members are often the first to notice the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. However, these changes are easily confused with the typical signs of aging, particularly in the early stages.
The symptoms of Parkinsons disease include:
- Tremors or shaking in the hand or jaw
- Jerky, rigid movements
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How To Talk To A Loved One About Parkinsons Disease
These are some strategies that can be helpful while talking to a loved one about Parkinsons disease:
- Check in regularly: Check in on the person regularly to ask them how theyre feeling and coping.
- Use empathetic language: Parkinsons disease can affect a persons ability to go about their daily life. The person might find it challenging to do things they once did easily. This can be difficult and frustrating for them. Try to be empathetic when you speak to them, so they feel supported.
- Offer assistance: As Parkinsons disease progresses, the person may not be able to drive, cook, clean, or care for themselves. Offer them your assistance and let them know they can count on you.
- Encourage them to settle their affairs: If your loved one is in a position to make important decisions, it can be helpful to encourage them to settle their affairs.
Support For People Living With Parkinsons Disease
While the progression of Parkinsons is usually slow, eventually a persons daily routines may be affected. Activities such as working, taking care of a home, and participating in social activities with friends may become challenging. Experiencing these changes can be difficult, but support groups can help people cope. These groups can provide information, advice, and connections to resources for those living with Parkinsons disease, their families, and caregivers. The organizations listed below can help people find local support groups and other resources in their communities.
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Lifestyle Changes To Help With Parkinsons Disease
Holistic lifestyle changes can help people stay healthier with Parkinsons disease:
- Exercise keeps muscles more flexible for better movement. It also releases brain chemicals like endorphins to boost mood.
- High protein meals help the brain function better
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy will improve the ability to communicate and tackle daily tasks