Like caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Parkinson’s disease can become somewhat complicated to care for as the disease progresses. But with the right information and a plan in place, the quality of life of the person dealing with the disease can be improved.
This article explores what exactly Parkinson’s disease is and provides some insight into what a care plan will look like as someone progresses through the five major stages of the disease. Additionally, it will also highlight how senior living communities offering respite care can be a valuable asset to that plan.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that increases in severity over time. At this point, there is no cure for the disease, but there is medication that can help relieve many problems caused by some of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s affects a person’s nervous system as certain brain cells begin breaking down and dying. Symptoms for the disease vary by person-to-person and the stage of the disease. Here are some common symptoms that most people experience at some point:
- Slow movement
- Changes in how one talks
- Difficulty or inability to write
- Stiff, inflexible muscles
- Poor balance and posture
Caring For Someone During the Stages of Parkinson’s Disease
Creating a care plan isn’t quite as simple as deciding to take care of a loved one dealing with Parkinson’s. The primary reason for this is that the type of care required will change somewhat based on the progression of the disease.
The following descriptions of care throughout these stages will give you a bird’s eye view of what care will look like throughout.
During this first stage of the disease, not much changes. The initial symptoms, such as tremors, don’t typically interfere greatly with daily activities. And your doctor may prescribe some medications that help manage these symptoms.
The best thing you and your loved one can do at this point is to learn as much about the disease as possible. This enables you to ensure everyone is prepared going forward, and the care plan can begin coming together.
Stage two is typically considered to be mild Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms at this point will begin being much more noticeable, such as tremors or facial expression changes. At this point, many people will still be able to successfully live alone without a lot of assistance.
However, as simple tasks like eating become increasingly difficult, occupational therapy may be beneficial so that the person can begin figuring out ways to accomplish everyday activities.
By stage three, the early symptoms will become very noticeable. Additionally, balance and mobility will begin to suffer. For example, movements are slower, and the risk of injuries from falling becomes a much higher possibility.
Speech therapy may be necessary at this point as well because simple communication may become difficult. Also, physiotherapy will likely be beneficial in this stage as muscles become less cooperative. A huge concern is falling, so physiotherapy will also help with balance and coordination.
By stage four, mobility and balance issues will likely become dangerous. At this point, the individual will likely need full-time support to ensure safety. Arranging home care or considering an assisted living community will be beneficial. Additionally, respite care will offer short-term breaks if a family member or friend is the caregiver.
This final stage is the most debilitating. Many people whose disease advances to this stage will find living alone almost impossible. And many of them will be confined to bed or a wheelchair to get around.
In addition to the physical issues that come with Parkinson’s, many people will experience neurological problems, such as delusions or hallucinations. This can be from the disease or side effects from the various medications used.
If home care or an assisted living community wasn’t already on the table from stage 4 of the disease, it would likely be necessary at this point.
How Fox Trail Senior Living Can Help
Care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can get overwhelming, especially in the later stages of the disease. Even the most loving and dedicated family member or friend will eventually get worn out and need a break. Respite care is an incredible service that ensures the older adult receives excellent care from qualified staff. At the same time, the primary caregiver can take a break.
Call us at Fox Trail Senior Living in Cresskill. The knowledgeable staff is happy to answer your questions about the services and amenities your loved one can expect. And if you’re interested, we can book you a tour to see everything with your own eyes.