A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis impacts members of the family as well as the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the condition progresses is key to being prepared for the changes to come and to making the most of every day.
In our three-part series, we will be posting caregiver tips about what to expect in each phase of Parkinson’s disease., Blog post will include information about what family care providers can do to best assist a family member with Parkinson’s, and how Inspired Home Care, the Barrington caregiver experts, can help. Read part one and part three of our series.
Middle Stage Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s progresses into the middle stage, one of the top fears is losing balance, and fall prevention becomes paramount. Remember, however, that through the middle stage of the illness, the individual with Parkinson’s usually will still be able to fully engage in daily activities like getting dressed, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It is essential to permit more time for the individual to do these activities, however, as you begin to notice a slowing in self-care capabilities.
Additional changes to watch out for in this stage include:
- Increased rigidity, tremors, and stiffness
- Increased fatigue
- Changes to sleep routines and other sleeping challenges
- Communication trouble, like slurring words and a lower and more hoarse tone of voice
The Effect of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Even though the impact on caregiving duties has probably been minimal up until this time, care needs start to advance in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further compound the complications, difficulty with communication may cause frustration for both the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It’s common for caregivers to face heightened worry, anxiety, and stress at this stage in the illness. There could be concern over how to meet the continuously increasing needs of the person they love. These emotions can be worsened by lack of sleep and/or other essential aspects of maintaining 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 Care Providers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One good way to help in this phase is to implement changes to the home environment to ensure both safety and continued independence. Even the most straightforward modifications can make an impact. For instance, try:
- Eliminating throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything that may pose a tripping hazard
- Adding handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Buying clothing and shoes that are more convenient for self-dressing, such as shoes with Velcro instead of laces, pull-on pants, shirts with snaps instead of 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.
Inspired Home Care’s award-winning senior care team is here to work with you through every stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you create a proactive plan of care that will help ensure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It is important to remember that caregiving should not be a solo undertaking. Give us a call at 847-787-7572 for additional caregiver tips or a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our in-home care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love. See our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.