A diagnosis of Parkinson’s affects loved ones as well as the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the disease progresses is vital to being prepared for the changes in the future and to making life the best it can be each day.
In our three-part series, we will be posting blogs that feature information about each stage of Parkinson’s disease. Topics will include information about what family caregivers can do to best assist a senior loved one with Parkinson’s and how Compassionate Nursing Services, a provider of professional Oakville dementia and Parkinson’s care can help. Read part 1 and part 3 of our series.
Middle Stage Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s progresses into the middle stage, one of the top concerns is diminished balance, and fall prevention will become important. Keep in mind, however, that throughout the middle stage of the illness, the person with Parkinson’s typically will still be able to fully take part in daily activities like getting dressed, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It is important to permit more time for the individual to perform these activities, however, as you begin to observe a marked slowing in self-care abilities.
Other changes to anticipate in this stage include:
- Increased stiffness, rigidity, and tremors
- Increased tiredness
- Changes to sleep patterns and other sleeping problems
- Communication problems, including slurring words and a lower and more hoarse tone of voice
The Impact of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Although the effect on caregiving tasks has perhaps been very little up until now, care needs start to advance in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further heighten the challenges, difficulty with communicating can result in stress for both the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It’s typical for caregivers to deal with increased worry, anxiety, and stress at this time in the illness. There may be worry over how exactly to meet the steadily increasing needs of the individual they love. These emotions may be amplified by lack of sleep and/or other essential facets of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the advancement of Parkinson’s, it’s vitally important for family caregivers to focus on taking care of themselves.
How Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One easy way to help in this phase is to implement adjustments to the home setting to ensure both safety and ongoing independence. Even the most basic adjustments can make an impact.
For instance, try:
- Removing throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything else that can pose a tripping danger
- Installing handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Buying clothing and shoes that are more convenient for self-dressing, like shoes with Velcro rather than laces, pull-on sweatpants, shirts with snaps instead of buttons, etc.
- Replacing the person’s manual toothbrush and razor with electric models
- Researching adaptive tools such as knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with bigger, easier-to-grip handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Compassionate Nursing Services’ award-winning caregiving professionals are here to work with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We are able to help you develop a proactive plan of care that will ensure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It’s important to remember that caregiving should never be a solo endeavor. Call us at 314-432-4312 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our in-home care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love. See our Service Area page for a list of all the communities we serve.