Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition that results in both physical and cognitive changes. Currently, there’s no cure for Parkinson’s, but early intervention can delay the progression of the disease. While the early symptoms of Parkinson’s can be somewhat difficult to detect, families of seniors should be aware of the most common warning signs so any unusual changes can be noted and brought to the attention of healthcare professionals as soon as possible. The following are the five most common indicators of Parkinson’s.
1. Changes in Handwriting
Because Parkinson’s affects fine motor skills, those in the early stages of the disease may exhibit changes in their handwriting. Words often become smaller, and letters will be “crowded” together. This change often occurs gradually and becomes more apparent over time.
2. Joint Pain & Stiffness
Although joint pain and stiffness are expected with age—especially with the prevalence of age-related conditions such as arthritis—joint pain and stiffness shouldn’t be constant. Persistent stiffness and difficulty moving affected extremities are closely related to Parkinson’s and are most apparent in the hips and shoulders.
If your loved one’s pain and stiffness are severe, he or she can benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated senior home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
3. nability to Smell
Some of the senses decrease with age, but a severe loss of smell can indicate Parkinson’s. Aging adults with Parkinson’s may even seem to lose their ability to smell overnight. Scientists aren’t sure why some seniors start to lose this sense in the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, but some neurologists suggest Parkinson’s damages the regions of the brain that control how external stimuli are interpreted. Indications that your loved one may no longer be able to smell include a sudden disinterest in favorite foods and a decrease in personal hygiene.
4. Changes in Voice Quality
Changes in voice are often specific to Parkinson’s. Your loved one may start to speak in lower tones, even to the point where others may not be able to hear what’s being said. Sometimes this change in vocal quality sounds like the voice of someone with a cold and has a hoarse or whispering quality to it.
Serious health and safety issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s can make caring for aging loved ones with the disease increasingly challenging. For many seniors in Sarasota, FL, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
5. Shakiness & Tremors
Shaking and tremors are classic warning signs of Parkinson’s that are easy to identify. In the early stages of the disease, these may start out as involuntary jerks of the legs, arms, or hands. As the disease progresses, the shakiness and tremors will become worse, especially when at rest, and may make it difficult for a senior to hold a pen or grasp a cup or glass.
If you believe your loved one may be exhibiting signs of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to run the appropriate tests and determine the best way to move forward.
Early diagnosis is critical because Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare Sarasota, FL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call us at (941) 702-5525 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.