A Parkinson’s prognosis impacts relatives in addition to the person diagnosed. Learning what to anticipate as the illness becomes more serious is vital to being ready for the changes in the future and also to making life the very best it can be every day.
Over the past couple of months, we have shared information explaining what to anticipate in the early and middle stages of Parkinson’s disease. Blog posts have explored what caregivers can do to best help a family member with Parkinson’s, and how Inspired Home Care, a provider of elder care in Wilmette, IL and nearby areas, can help. In this final segment in the series, we provide information about caring for someone in the late stages of this disorder.
Final Stages of Parkinson’s
In the final stages of Parkinson’s, a substantial degree of assistance becomes necessary with activities of everyday living. By definition, the final stages of Parkinson’s are noted by the senior’s inability to live independently. At first, walking and standing may still be possible, but with noticeable trouble, and as the illness continues to advance, the person will no longer be capable of getting out of bed or a chair without assistance.
In combination with a heightened risk for falls, hallucinations and delusions can also be common. As a result, full-time, day-and-night assistance is necessary to ensure safety.
The Impact of Late Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caretakers
At this stage, the stress and everyday requirements of caregiving usually take a toll on a caregiver’s own health. It is vitally important for family caregivers to reach out and accept support, to continue to be socially connected, and to make respite care a number one priority. It’s simply not practical for one person on their own to deal with the around-the-clock care necessary for a person in late stage Parkinson’s.
How Caregivers Can Help with Late Stage Parkinson’s Care
With additional hands-on care required, it is essential to understand how to properly and effectively provide this help so that you can reduce the possibility of doing harm to either yourself or the person being cared for.
If the older adult is not already receiving physical therapy services, ask the doctor for a referral. The physical therapist, while helping optimize the person’s ability level, may also advise family caregivers on the top approaches for hands-on assistance.
One new symptom that often arises in the later stages of Parkinson’s is freezing, when the person is suddenly (but temporarily) unable to move. Methods to help break a freezing episode include:
- Using a laser pointer and asking the person to step on the light
- Utilizing a rhythmic noise, such as clapping, and motivating the individual to take one step with each clap
- Playing music and prompting the individual to walk to the beat
As always, stay close at hand when the person is mobile to prevent a fall.
Make sure to provide plenty of extra time for day-to-day activities such as getting dressed and eating, which are likely to take longer now. This is important in conserving the person’s self-sufficiency. Even if it requires additional time to finish an activity, it’s always better to foster as much autonomy as you possibly can.
Emotional and mental health issues also may appear now, including depression, memory problems, anxiety, and dementia. These health conditions can be very daunting for a family caregiver to manage and should be brought to the attention to a loved one’s physician.
Inspired Home Care’s award-winning caregiving team is here to help you and the senior you love through each stage of Parkinson’s. Particularly in these final stages of the illness, having a care partner you can trust and depend on is a must.
Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our elder care in Wilmette, IL and nearby areas . We’d love to have the opportunity to share details about all the ways in which we can ease the transitions through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior in your care.