Every six minutes, someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the U.S. This alarming trend underlines the importance of education about symptoms and funding research to find a cure as Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April is meant to do. Also concerning is a recent study showing that the annual incidence of Parkinson’s disease among older adults is 50 percent higher that the current estimate of 60,000 diagnoses annually.
The peer-reviewed study published last December in the scientific journal npj Parkinson’s Disease puts the incidence rate at 90,000 diagnoses each year. Demographic data suggests that the annual incident rate ranges from 60,000 to 95,000 for adults ages 45 and older each year, and runs 90,000 for seniors 65 and older.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. It is a chronic and progressive disease that typically affects older people, with symptoms usually appearing after the age of 50. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, which can lead to tremors, rigidity, and other symptoms. Continue reading to learn about some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in older people and to gain tips for caregivers to help senior loved ones who have been diagnosed with PD.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease affects seniors in different ways, and symptoms may vary from person to person. However, there are several common symptoms that are associated with PD:
Tremors: Tremors are one of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They usually occur in the hands, but they can also affect the legs, chin, and other parts of the body.
Rigidity: Parkinson’s disease can cause muscle stiffness, making it difficult for people to move their arms and legs.
Bradykinesia: This is a slowness of movement that can affect people with Parkinson’s disease. It can make everyday activities, such as getting dressed or eating, more challenging.
Postural instability: Parkinson’s disease can affect a person’s balance, leading to difficulty in standing or walking.
Depression and anxiety: People with Parkinson’s disease may experience depression and anxiety, which can affect their overall quality of life.
Caring for Parkinson’s: Six Tips for Caregivers
Caregivers play a crucial role in helping people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips for caregivers to help those who are living with this progressive chronic disease:
Help with daily tasks: People with Parkinson’s disease may struggle with everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, and cooking. Caregivers can assist with these tasks, making them easier for the person with Parkinson’s disease.
Encourage exercise: Exercise can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease, as it can help with mobility and balance. Caregivers can encourage exercise, such as going for walks or participating in gentle yoga classes.
Provide emotional support: Parkinson’s disease can be emotionally challenging for people with the disease, as well as for their caregivers. Caregivers can provide emotional support by listening and offering reassurance.
Ensure safety: Parkinson’s disease can affect a person’s balance and coordination, making falls more likely. Caregivers can help ensure safety by removing tripping hazards and providing assistive devices, such as handrails and grab bars.
Stay informed: Parkinson’s disease is a complex condition, and caregivers can benefit from staying informed about the latest research and treatments. They can also seek out support groups and resources to help them provide the best possible care.
Get the right support: If you or a loved one needs help to manage PD symptoms, know that you are not alone. To learn more about how Amada Senior Care can help facilitate the care of a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s, please call 866-752-1961 or CLICK HERE to find an Amada office near you. Many families are unaware that in-home Parkinson’s care is not covered by health insurance or Medicare but rather a Long-Term Care insurance policy. Our experienced Amada Senior Care advisors can provide information and guidance.
Trained Caregivers Can Help Parkinson’s Seniors Manage Symptoms
Symptoms of the disease can be challenging for older people, but caregivers can provide essential support to help manage the disease. By assisting with daily tasks, encouraging exercise, providing emotional support, ensuring safety, and staying informed, caregivers can help those with Parkinson’s disease lead fulfilling lives.
Resources for Parkinson’s Patients and Their Families
National Parkinson’s Foundation — Works to improve care for Parkinson’s sufferers and advancing research toward a cure.
American Parkinson’s Disease Association — The APDA represents the largest grassroots network with the goal of fighting Parkinson’s disease.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research — Established by the actor, Michael J. Fox, the foundation pursues an aggressively funded research agenda with the goals of finding a cure for PD and developing improved therapies for patients.
Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s — Launched by the professional road bicycle racer, the foundation funds early-phase research focusing on exercise, speech, movement, and other quality-of-life factors.
“Are We Close to a Cure for Parkinson’s?,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.