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caring for someone with parkinsons disease

Caring for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects movement and cognition. 

During the first two stages of the disease, you may not notice many changes in your loved one’s health and behavior, but the signs will become more evident as they progress through the stages. 

In the later stages, it can be challenging to be the caregiver of someone with Parkinson’s disease. 

When your loved one’s care needs become too much for you to take on alone, you and your loved one would both benefit from the help of an assisted living community. 

Learn the signs of Parkinson’s disease, how to care for your loved one and help them manage their symptoms, and where to find a supportive community.

Recognize the signs of Parkinson’s disease

Often, family members and friends will notice changes in their loved ones before they are diagnosed. 

If your loved one begins to experience tremors or their movements become slower, you should discuss this with their physician. 

Tremors, stiffness, and anxiety are some of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease. 

A health professional can evaluate your loved one’s symptoms through observation and testing to determine if they are in the early stages of PD.  

The earlier your loved one is diagnosed, the sooner they can receive support and treatment, which can help them maintain their quality of life. 

The most common signs of Parkinson’s disease include: 

  • Anxiety and emotional changes
  • Cognitive changes and decline 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Distorted sense of smell 
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Balance problems
  • Tremors in arms or legs

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, their symptoms will worsen and may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty writing 
  • Eyelid closure
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Sexual problems 
  • Urinary urgency 

Related diagnosis: Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

Researchers have found that most seniors with PD have Lewy Bodies, which are abnormal proteins in their brains. 

Not all seniors with Parkinson’s disease will go on to develop LBD, but there is an increased risk. 

While Parkinson’s is typically a movement disorder, LBD is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to memory and cognitive problems. 

When seniors experience movement and cognitive issues, a healthcare professional will evaluate them to determine if they also have LBD. 

Both disorders are progressive and managed similarly, using medication and therapy.

Caregiving for a family member with Parkinson’s disease 

As a caregiver to someone, family member or otherwise,  you must be patient and understanding.

Over time, the health and abilities of your loved one will decline, making activities of daily living (ADLs) challenging for them. 

You will need to adapt to the needs of your loved one and adjust their care plan as their condition progresses. 

People diagnosed with PD will likely need caregivers to help them physically and emotionally. 

The best way to help and support your loved one is to ensure they eat a healthy diet, stay active, and have a safe home environment. 

While PD seniors may not always feel up to exercising, staying active will help them improve their strength, balance, memory, and quality of life. 

The chemical dopamine that is released during exercise will help your senior improve their mental health and move more efficiently. 

Ensure that your loved one can move around their home safely by keeping their floors and paths clear of clutter, rugs, and electrical cords and keeping their home well lit. This will lessen their chances of tripping and falling. 

Caregiver self-care 

Being a caregiver is a selfless job, but you can’t forget to take care of yourself. 

Engaging in self-care will help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally and can even help you be a better caregiver. 

It’s common to experience caregiver guilt when you decide to take time for yourself, but it is necessary for your overall health and well-being. 

Each day, take the time to go for a walk, engage in yoga or another physical activity, go out with a friend or spouse, or catch up on a television show. 

Self-care can be anything that helps boost your mood, relax, and ease the stress of care. 

If you’re feeling alone in your caregiver journey, it’s recommended that you look for support groups to join. 

Support groups give you a safe place to vent, talk, and share your experiences with others who understand what it is like to be a caregiver.

Assisted living care for Parkinson’s disease

If the needs of your loved one become too much and you experience caregiver burnout, an assisted living community can benefit you and your loved one. 

At an enhanced senior living community like The Kensington Redondo Beach, your loved one can receive all types and levels of 24/7 care and support. 

With on-site rehabilitation, The Kensington Redondo Beach can offer your senior loved one consistent geriatric physical and speech therapies, working together with a team of therapists each week to accomplish goals. Our team will help restore and retain their physical motor skills and mobility.

For seniors experiencing difficulties speaking and swallowing, our speech therapist can partner with the resident to work through therapies to help with chewing and swallowing problems. Our dining team can also handle all dietary needs necessary.

Your loved one can live safely and comfortably with around-the-clock care, on-site nurses, medication administration, and medical devices. 

Though it can be challenging to reach out for help, The Kensington Redondo Beach can make this transition easier for you by offering the best care and services. 

How to manage Parkinson’s Disease

Treatment options include medication and therapy. When used together, caregivers can help manage their loved one’s symptoms. 

The standard drug prescribed to PD seniors is L-dopa (levodopa). Drug therapy can replenish dopamine in the brain and offer relief. 

The sooner your loved one is treated for their disease, the better, as medication can improve daily functioning and a senior’s sense of well-being.  

Antidepressants may also be something to consider when managing your loved one’s PD symptoms. Depression is a common symptom, with around 35% of seniors with PD experiencing it, which can lead to a quicker physical decline. 

Together, rehabilitation and drug therapy can improve your loved one’s quality of life and help them remain independent for longer. 

Since PD seniors experience mobility issues, assisted devices, such as walking aids, hearing aids, voice devices, and grab bars, will be beneficial. 

The Kensington Redondo Beach—your partners in care

Don’t wait until your loved one’s condition progresses into advanced stages, consider an assisted living community while they can still participate in the decision. 

Our assisted living and memory care communities give your senior loved one a safe and comfortable home where they can maintain their health and truly age in place. 

Our team’s top priority is the well-being and peace of mind of our residents and their families, making it easy for us to stand by Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

At our assisted living and memory care communities, your loved one will receive: 

  • A full spectrum of clinical support
  • Pain management 
  • Rehabilitation 
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Speech therapy 
  • A calendar full of life enrichment activities
  • Exquisite dining services
    • Special dietary needs
    • Complimentary meals for family and friends
  • Two neighborhoods of Alzheimer’s and Dementia care

Contact us to learn more about our beautiful suites and how we support our residents and their families.

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