A diagnosis of Parkinson’s affects members of the family as well as the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the disease progresses is key to being ready for the changes to come and to making life the best it can be each day.
In our three-part series on Parkinson’s disease care, we’ll be posting information about what to anticipate in each stage of the disease. Blogs will cover topics including what family caregivers can do to best assist a family member with Parkinson’s, and how Home With You Senior Care, an expert provider of senior care in Columbia, MD and nearby areas, can assist. Read part one and part three in our series.
Middle Stage Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s progresses into the middle stage, one of the top concerns is losing balance, and fall prevention becomes important. Remember, however, that through the middle stage of the disease, the individual with Parkinson’s often can still fully participate in daily tasks like putting on clothes, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It’s important to allow added time for the individual to perform these tasks, however, as you begin to notice a marked slowing in self-care abilities.
Additional changes to anticipate in this stage include:
- Increased rigidity, tremors, and stiffness
- Increased fatigue
- Changes to sleep routines along with other sleeping problems
- Communication trouble, like slurring words and a deeper and more hoarse tone of voice
The Impact of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Even though the impact on care duties has perhaps been very small up until this time, care needs begin to advance in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further compound the complications, difficulty with communicating can cause stress for the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It’s common for caregivers to deal with increased anxiety, stress, and worry at this point in the disease. There could be worry over the best way to meet the continuously growing needs of the person they love. These feelings could be amplified by lack of sleep and/or other essential aspects of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the advancement of Parkinson’s, it is vitally important for family caregivers to focus on self-care.
How Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One way to provide support in this stage would be to implement adjustments to the home setting to ensure both safety and continued independence. Even the simplest alterations can make a big difference. For instance, try:
- Getting rid of throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything else that can pose a tripping risk
- Installing handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Buying clothing and shoes that are easier for self-dressing, such as shoes with Velcro instead of laces, pull-on pants, shirts with snaps rather than buttons, etc.
- Replacing the person’s manual razor and toothbrush with electric versions
- Looking into adaptive tools like knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with bigger, easier-to-grasp handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Home With You Senior Care’s award-winning caregiving experts are here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you devise a practical plan of care that will ensure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It is important to understand that providing care should not be a solo endeavor. Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our senior care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love.