When a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it impacts family members along with the person diagnosed. Understanding what to anticipate as the disease progresses is vital to being ready for the changes in the future and to make life the very best it can be every day.
Over the next several months, we’ll be posting blogs about what to anticipate in each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what family care providers can do to best help a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Home With You Senior Care’s Ellicott City senior care experts can help. Read part two and part three in our our series.
Early Stage Parkinson’s
Each person experiences Parkinson’s differently, but in general, the early stage symptoms are fairly mild, with no functional impairment. One side of the body is typically affected first, with periodic tremors and/or inflexibility in one hand or leg or expression changes in one part of the face.
As the illness continues through the early stage, both sides of the body start to experience these changes. This advancement can take months or even years. While balance is still usually not impaired at this time, other changes may include:
- A quieter tone of voice, or one that begins loud but fades in volume as the person continues to talk
- Slurred speech
- Decreased blinking and other facial expression changes
- An overall sluggishness in performing daily activities
- Increased stiffness and/or rigidity in muscles
- Neck or back pain
- A progressively stooped posture
The Effect of Early Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
The initial prognosis and early stage can be a challenging time for the person with the disease and close members of the family. Taking time to work through these emotions is very important, through professional counseling, talking with a clergy member or close friend, journaling, and attending Parkinson’s support groups, either virtual or in person.
While hands-on care is normally not needed (or welcomed) during this period, it’s the ideal time to start to put a strategy in place for the changes in the future. For instance, contemplate whether you’ll want to work outside the home as the disease advances, or if you desire to be home to offer full-time care. Would the person diagnosed choose to remain in the home throughout the progression of the disease, or to enter a care facility? Who is able to become part of your support network to help you to take regular breaks for self-care and also to attend to housework, meal prep, shopping, and all of the other important everyday chores?
Home With You Senior Care’s award-winning caregiving professionals are here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you come up with a practical plan of care that will guarantee all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It’s important to understand that caregiving should never be a solo endeavor. Give us a call at 410-756-0959 for a complimentary in-home assessment to learn more about our in-home care services and how we are able to ease the transition through Parkinson’s both for you and the senior you love. To find out if our home care services are available near you, please visit our Locations Served page.