Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that worsens over time. For some individuals, a long period of time may elapse between an initial diagnosis and the appearance of severe, disabling symptoms. For others, the disease may progress rapidly. Not much is known about why some people develop severe symptoms quickly, while others stay relatively healthy for much longer. However, there are a few commonly recognized stages of disease progression that are experienced by most individuals living with Parkinson’s.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms like tremors, stiffness, and slow movement are usually mild, may be limited to one side of the body, and often present more of an annoyance than a true impediment to activities of daily living. In the middle stages of Parkinson’s, these symptoms become more severe, and may be accompanied by urinary and gastrointestinal disorders, sleep problems, depression, and dementia. In late-stage Parkinson’s, symptoms are very severe, and often disabling.
The later stages of Parkinson’s disease are characterized by severe tremors and shaking, stiffness in the trunk, limbs, and extremities, slow and difficult movement, a shuffling gait, and markedly stooped posture. Patients in this stage of the disease may lose the ability to walk, and often lose the ability to function independently, requiring assistance with bathing, mealtimes, and other everyday activities. At this stage, as chewing and swallowing may become difficult, people with Parkinson’s are at heightened risk for dehydration and malnutrition. If the person is still able to walk, there is a significant risk of falls, which may result in major injury. Depression and sleep disturbances, as well as urinary and digestive problems, can severely impact the quality of life for people suffering from late-stage Parkinson’s. For these reasons, it’s essential for people in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease to receive compassionate and competent care tailored to their individual needs.
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.