Barbara is worried about changes she has noticed with her elderly father. Her father, Lyle, was always a vibrant person. Even in his advancing age, Lyle was fiercely independent who bristled at the idea of needing a caregiver. There were very few days where Lyle was not out socializing with friends or attending events at his church. He always talked about his workout buddies and how getting out of the house really made him feel better. That has appeared to change in the last two months or so. When visiting one day, Barbara observed her dad’s hands shaking. She thought Lyle might be cold, so she turned up the heat, with no change. Where Lyle was once boisterous and gregarious, his speech has become quieter and much slower than before. Barbara saw her dad’s movements and activity levels slow down as well. After telling Lyle’s physician about his changing conditions, the doctor said Lyle might be exhibiting the first signs of Parkinson’s Disease.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system disorder that affects the body’s ability to move by breaking down nerve cells in the brain. These cells govern the production of dopamine which regulates brain functions. When dopamine levels drop, abnormal brain activity happens, including irregular body motions such as tremors. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are slowed movement, including speech; problems chewing, swallowing, and eating; impaired posture and balance; and incontinence. In some cases, symptoms of dementia can develop in elders with the disease.
How caregivers can benefit seniors with Parkinson’s Disease
Barbara knew her dad Lyle met several of the risk factors for Parkinson’s Disease – he was over 60 years old, male, and had a close relative that had the disease – so she made an appointment for her dad to be seen by his physician. The doctor told them that in fact, this was the very early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Lyle was concerned that he would lose his independence; he has watched the progression of the disease deteriorate the health of two friends. The doctor acknowledged that Parkinson’s Disease is progressive and that her dad may one day need assistance with daily tasks, but available treatments slow the progression of the disease and will allow Lyle to maximize his current independence.
Barbara became stressed thinking about how to care for her father as the disease developed. Lyle’s doctor suggested researching into services provided by home health caregivers, who are trained to assist with daily life activities such as:
- Dressing and undressing
- Mobility issues, including reducing trip hazards
- Managing medications
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Doctor’s visits
- Remaining socially active
The doctor suggested to Barbara that it would be best for her to hire home care providers prior to symptoms worsening. This way, the senior care provider could help her father manage the process of Parkinson’s Disease step by step, while understanding how to help Lyle retain his independence at each step. Although Barbara and Lyle are still concerned for the future, they both understand more about the future they are facing and how to successfully manage it.
Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055
Parkinsondisease.net – https://parkinsonsdisease.net/caregivers/how-to-care-for-parkinsons-patients/
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider home care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.