If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease, you may be wondering what your options are in terms of care. In-home care is an excellent option because it allows the person to remain in their home while still receiving the care and assistance they need. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is aneurodegenerative disorder affecting dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. Symptoms are generally slow to develop over a period of years, with the progression of symptoms being different from one person to another, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Symptoms range from tremor (mainly at rest), bradykinesia (slowed movement), limb rigidity, and difficulty with gait and balance. The cause of PD remains largely unknown and currently there is no cure. That said, there are ways to effectively treat the disease through medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s is not fatal on its own, complications from the disease can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says complications from PD are the 14th cause of death in this country.
Currently, 930,000 people in the United States are estimated to be living with the disease, with this number expected to increase to 1.2 million people by 2030. Seniors aren’t the only ones who develop Parkinson’s in their old age. Athletes and those who have suffered concussions are at increased risk too. According to a study on WebMD, a mild concussion increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 56 percent.
According to Parkinson’s News Today, athletes who play contact sports for longer than eight years are six times more likely to develop Lewy body disease, which is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
There are many symptoms that may signal Parkinson’s disease, with symptoms worsening as the years go on. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and not everyone will have the same signs. Symptoms may include:
- Tremor. A tremor, or shaking, typically begins in a limb, usually the hand or fingers. The hand may tremor even when at rest.
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia). Your movement may slow down over time, which can make simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. You may have trouble with your gait, with steps becoming shorter when you walk. You may have a tough time getting out of a chair, or you may find yourself dragging your feet as you walk, says the Mayo Clinic.
- Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness can occur in any part of the body, which may become painful and limit range of motion.
- Impaired posture and balance. Posture often becomes stooped, with balance problems as well.
- Loss of automatic movements. Decreased ability to perform unconscious movements may include smiling, blinking, or swinging your arms as you walk.
- Speech changes. You may speak softly, or you may slur or speak too quickly. Many people hesitate before they begin to talk, with speech becoming more of a monotone instead of conversation featuring the usual inflections.
- Writing changes. It may become difficult to write, with writing appearing smaller than usual.
How In-Home Care Helps
As we said before, Parkinson’s progresses differently in every person. At first, you may just need a helper to pick up groceries every week; as the disease advances, your needs may evolve to include in-home care, a day care service, or a home health aide who visits you for a few hours a day. Eventually, you may need full-time home care or a skilled nursing facility.
With in-home care you can trust, you get access to trained experts in Parkinson’s disease care. These professionals can help you out with your bills, remind you to take your medications, take you on errands, cook you a meal — anything you need. They know when you’re having an extra hard day with increased shuffling or lack of mobility, gently nudging you through your daily exercises, cooking nutritious home meals ahead of time, and helping you relax. They’ll encourage you to talk through how you’re feeling about the limitations placed on your body. They’re trained to notice changes in posture and facial expression, making adjustments so that you feel more comfortable in maintaining coordination and balance.
Here’s how we can help with Parkinson’s support:
- Nutrition and Meal Planning. A healthy diet is vital for those with Parkinson’s disease, in order to keep up strong muscles and bones.
- Personal Supervision and Home Safety. An unsteady gait often comes with Parkinson’s disease, resulting in an increased risk for trips and falls.
- Daily Mobility. You may need extra help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, eating and toileting. Our skilled caregivers understand you have a slower pace thanks to this neuromuscular disorder, respecting your privacy and the need for normal routines.
- Exercise. Daily exercise is critical if you want to maintain balance, mobility and strength. Our home caregivers are here to help with stretching, walking and other light exercises.
- Transportation. Driving is difficult for many Parkinson’s patients. We can give you rides to appointments and therapy, relieving your family members from having to take time off work.
- Family caregiver relief. Caring for someone with Parkinson’s is often physically demanding and emotionally exhausting, which is why we are happy to provide respite care for family and friends.
Give us a call today to learn more about how in-home care can help people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Our compassionate care services and skilled healthcare offerings are designed to ease everyone’s burden.