A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis impacts family members along with the person diagnosed. Understanding what to anticipate as the disease advances is vital to being ready for the changes to come and also to make life the very best it can be each day.
Over the next couple of months, we will be posting blogs about what to expect in each stage of Parkinson’s disease. Each post will include information about what family caregivers can do to best help a family member with Parkinson’s, and how Inspired Home Care, a provider of Algonquin home health care with services in the surrounding areas, can help. Read part two and part three of our series.
Early Stage Parkinson’s Disease
Each person experiences Parkinson’s differently, but in general, the initial stage symptoms are relatively mild, with no functional impairment. One side of the body is generally impacted first, with occasional tremors and/or stiffness in one hand or leg or expression changes in one side of the face.
As the illness continues through the first stage, both sides of the body begin to undergo these changes. This advancement may take months or possibly even years. While balance typically remains unimpaired at this time, other changes can include:
- A quieter tone of voice, or one that starts off more loudly but fades in volume as the person continues to talk
- Slurred speech
- Decreased blinking along with other facial expression changes
- A general slowness in carrying out day-to-day activities
- Increased stiffness and/or rigidity in muscles
- Pain in the neck or back
- A more stooped posture
The Effect of Early Stage Parkinson’s Disease on Family Caregivers
The initial diagnosis and early stage of Parkinson’s disease can be an emotional time for both the person with the disease and close loved ones. Taking time to deal with these emotions is essential, through professional counseling, talking with a clergy member or good friend, journaling, and exploring Parkinson’s support groups, either online or in person.
While hands-on care is normally not needed (or welcomed) during this period, it’s a good time for you to begin to put a strategy in place for the changes ahead. For example, consider whether you’ll want to work outside of the home as the disease advances, or if you desire to be home to give full-time care. Would the person diagnosed like to remain at home throughout the progression of the disease, or to enter a care facility? Who is able to join your support network to help you to take regular breaks for self-care and to attend to shopping, housework, preparing meals, as well as the other important daily tasks?
Inspired Home Care’s award-winning caregiving professionals are here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you prepare a practical plan of care that will ensure all needs are met now, and as they change as time goes by.
It is important to understand that caregiving should never be a solo endeavor. Contact us at 847-787-7572 for a complimentary in-home assessment for more information on our in-home care services and how we can ease the transition through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love.