Parkinson’s disease creates many challenges for its sufferers. It is a progressive disease, meaning that symptoms worsen over time. Physical symptoms include tremors and shaking, difficulty walking and balancing, fatigue, compromised coordination and motor skills, and rigidity of the trunk and limbs. While these symptoms are very common, affecting a majority of people with the disease, the way they appear and progress can vary tremendously between individuals. For example, severe tremors may immediately affect one patient while another may not even experience tremors. Due to the unpredictable progression of the disease, it’s important for patients, caregivers, and loved ones to pay keen attention to individual symptoms.
Certain symptoms may be mild enough to allow patients to continue performing daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation, unassisted in the early stages. Other tasks that once were managed easily may become extremely difficult or dangerous. High-risk activities include driving or performing strenuous chores. Once symptoms have set-in, it essential to understand the patient’s level of ability. Although it is difficult for many Parkinson’s sufferers to adjust to the loss of independence, safety should always be the primary concern.
For caregivers, it is challenging to assist someone who is facing a loss of physical ability and an increase in dependence. Ease the patient’s stress by allowing them to be actively involved in decisions about their care. Take the time to explain changes in roles in an empathetic manner. Also, allow patients to continue to participate in safe activities and household tasks as much as their condition will tolerate. Small efforts such as these will help patients maintain a sense of purpose, and will ease the transition from full independence to greater reliance on others.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinson’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.