According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, there are approximately one million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Every year, 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease. PD affects the nervous system and causes problems with movement. It is a progressive disease for which there is no cure. It can be a difficult disease to diagnose, but knowing the symptoms to watch for may help older adults to get the care they need sooner.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Often the earliest signs of PD are so mild that no one notices them. When symptoms do start to appear, they may show up on just one side of the body. As the disease progresses, symptoms are likely to remain worse on the side where they started. Some symptoms of PD are:
- Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia is when movement becomes slow. You might notice that your aging relative begins to take a longer time than normal to complete simple tasks. They may also take shorter steps than they used to. They might also drag their feet while walking.
- Tremor: A tremor can be described as a shaking motion that typically starts in a limb. Most often it starts in the hands or fingers. Some people develop a “pill rolling” motion where their finger and thumb rub together repeatedly. Tremors in the hand usually occur when the hand is at rest.
- Muscle Rigidity: Muscles in any part of the body might become stiff, making it harder to move and taking away some range of motion.
- Different Handwriting: Sometimes people with PD start to write differently than they used to. Often writing becomes smaller.
- Changes in Speech: An older adult with PD may speak softly or with little or no inflection. They might also talk to fast or slur words.
- Postural Changes: People with PD may develop a stooped posture. They may also have impaired balance.
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms in your older adult family member, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. It is especially important to report these kinds of symptoms to a doctor if the older adult has had family members with PD since it can raise the risk of developing the disease.
A diagnosis of PD can be difficult to deal with, but an elder care provider can help. Elder care providers can help a senior with PD to move safely about the house. They can also assist the PD patient to eat when tremors become too severe. Elder care providers can also remind the older adult to take their medications. And, if family caregivers are not available on the day of a medical appointment, elder care can provide transportation to and from the doctor’s office.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Des Plaines, IL, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.