April is Parkinson’s disease Awareness Month. Amid the events happening all around us, it is important to stay focused on our health and well-being.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, speech, and finally the ability to care for oneself in the latter stages of the disease.
The Griswold Home Care team is here to provide awareness and information regarding Parkinson’s disease. We have trained staff available to provide home care for Parkinson’s disease patients when the time is right.
Did you know Parkinson’s disease is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 60? Only 4 percent of cases are diagnosed before the age of 50. Those statistics make aging the biggest risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease.
Signs of Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly
Early signs of Parkinson’s in elderly people may have a subtle onset.
- You may notice a slight tremor in your hands. In contrast, you may experience stiffness or an awkward gait that you can’t control.
- You may be unable to smile, frown or indicate common feelings through facial expressions. Slurred speech or a decrease in the volume or tone of your voice may occur.
- The Parkinson’s side effects elderly people experience can differ from one person to another. Some people notice an overall weakness.
- Balance can become an issue, or you may take shorter steps and develop a shuffle when you walk.
- Some people report a diminished sense of smell. Years before you develop problems with mobility or the tell-tale Parkinson’s tremors, you may notice your favorite perfume or favorite foods don’t smell as strongly as they used to.
- A cold, seasonal allergies, or the flu can alter your sense of smell, but it should improve once you recover. If not, Parkinson’s disease may be sneaking up on you.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in the elderly may be overlooked at first and thought of as a normal part of the aging process. Being aware of the early onset signs of Parkinson’s in the elderly can be the key to determining the care needs for Parkinson’s disease patients.
Click here to find some additional signs of Parkinson’s in elderly adults.
Progression of Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly
Parkinson’s disease strikes people from every walk of life. Many high-profile celebrities have made their battle with Parkinson’s a public one. Calling awareness to the disease has been helpful to others who are victims of it. It is important to recognize the warning signs, as early diagnosis results in the best treatment options.
The list of celebrities stricken by Parkinson’s disease may surprise you. The following people brought attention to Parkinson’s disease and have shared their stories with the public to raise awareness.
- Linda Ronstadt—— Singer / Songwriter
- Alan Alda ——– Actor (M.A.S.H.)
- Muhammad Ali—–Boxer
- Robin Williams—— Actor
- Ozzie Osbourne—–English Singer and Rock Star
- Janet Reno—- Former Attorney General of the United States
- Billy Graham—-American Evangelist/ Minister
- Michael J. Fox—- Actor / Founder of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the progression of the disease is not the same for every person. It is hard to predict what symptoms you will get, when you might get them, or how severe they will be.
The progression of the disease can be measured in stages. Typical patterns of progression are outlined here.
If your physician suspects you have Parkinson’s, or if you have received the diagnosis, Griswold Home Care is ready to help you. We not only provide Parkinson’s home care services, but our staff can come up with your personalized care plan for Parkinson’s disease treatment. Proper nutrition and exercise will be beneficial and will help you feel like you have control over the disease.
Caring for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease
If your spouse or loved one is in the latter stages of the disease, you may suddenly find yourself in the caregiver’s position. You are probably wondering how to take care of a person with Parkinson’s disease, and you may doubt your ability to do so.
Don’t panic! There are resources available for people who are caring for the elderly with Parkinson’s disease. The Griswold Team can be of assistance as you navigate your way through this unknown and sometimes troubling stage of life.
Parkinson’s Home Care Services
In-home care for Parkinson’s patients can be very intensive, or you may simply require support and a helping hand so you can accomplish your daily goals. Whatever the need, we are here to assist.
Home care services provide you and your family with the tools and support you need to live your best life. We all know the joy and comfort we feel when we are in our own home, surrounded by the people and things we love.
Your home health team can help you and your family caregivers with nutrition, exercise, emotional support and confidence. They can suggest lifestyle changes to help you manage your disease, rather than having your disease manage you.
There are Parkinson’s patients who have adjusted their lives, accepted their limitations and are continuing to pursue the activities they love. The obstacles that accompany the disease may be challenging, but not always impossible.
If you try to stay active through exercise, sports, swimming or any other activity you enjoy you will be able to feel the benefits. Your emotional health will improve as you prove to yourself that your life still has meaning.
If you can’t run the marathon, maybe you can walk it. Write that memoir, play ball with the grandkids, or plant that vegetable garden with the thoughts of a summer salad on your picnic plate! Find your happy place and enjoy your life.
Be aware that Parkinson’s disease usually progresses slowly, and even after diagnosis you can enjoy a rewarding quality of life. A determined attitude and the support of friends, family, and a health care support team can help you manage your disease and reach the goals you set for yourself.