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Understanding the Progression of Parkinson's Disease

By , 4:50 pm on

Parkinson’s is a hereditary brain disorder that leads to uncontrollable tremors, difficulty with speech, and stiffness in limbs, all of which progress over time. For those who have a loved one with the Parkinson’s, it’s important to understand how the disease progresses and what symptoms to expect in each stage. With a greater understanding of Parkinson’s, it will be easier to offer the appropriate level of physical and emotional support to the individual.

In the first stage of Parkinson’s, tremors can begin, but these often can be reduced by taking medications that are prescribed by the senior’s doctor or primary care physician. Most seniors are able to continue with their daily activities, with minimal help from family or part-time home caregivers in New Hampshire. Individuals during this stage should also be encouraged to exercise at least three times a week. This can help manage tremors by preserving muscle strength and flexibility.

It can take years for most individuals to move into the second stage, where they may notice stiffness throughout the body, trembling, and difficulty speaking. Activities of daily living such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and driving may become difficult and in some cases, dangerous to perform, and additional support will be needed. Family members and friends can make the process easier for those who suffer from the disease by offering some assistance and allowing the individual to do as many tasks as they still can independently.

Once the disease progresses to the third stage, it can be difficult to maintain balance as reflexes begin to slow down, increasing the risk for falls. A senior’s doctor or specialist may recommend walking devices such as canes, walkers and even wheelchairs to help promote safety at home.

During the fourth stage, it will be most difficult for the senior to maintain their independence as almost all activities of daily living and personal care require assistance and monitoring from another individual. Many people in the fourth stage of Parkinson’s require live-in care in New Hampshire to help with mobility, morning and evening routines, transportation, and medication reminders. Some seniors will also suffer from hallucinations in this stage, making in-home assistance and support of the utmost importance, helping to alleviate anxiety and fear.

If you provide care for a loved one with Parkinson’s and need advice, assistance or support, know that you are not alone. Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of Parkinson’s home care in New Hampshire and offer flexible hourly and live-in care plans that not only meet your loved one’s needs, but can provide you with respite and relief. Call 603-471-3004 to speak with a devoted Care Manager and schedule a free, in-home consultation today.