Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that effects the nervous system. Although it is can manifest early in life, Parkinson’s is most common in older adults over the age of 60. Common symptoms include tremors (shaking) of the limbs and head, stiffness of the back, limbs, and extremities, slow movements, stooped posture, and a shuffling gait. Additionally, sleep disturbances, digestive and urinary problems, depression, and dementia effect many Parkinson’s sufferers. The time between the onset of symptoms and the point at which they become disabling varies from person to person. For some, symptoms progress very slowly; these individuals may enjoy many relatively healthy, productive years after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. For others, symptoms progress more quickly, leading to a rapid deterioration in ability and quality of life.
While it is not well understood why Parkinson’s progresses quickly for certain people and not for others, there are a few commonly recognized stages of the disease. In the early stages of Parkinson’s, symptoms are generally mild, may be confined to only one side of the body, and are often more annoying than they are debilitating. In the middle stages of Parkinson’s, tremors are often more pronounced, and may lead to difficulties performing fine motor tasks, such as writing, as well as greater discomfort. Stiffness often worsens in the middle stages of the disease, and slowness of movement is more pronounced. Walking also frequently becomes more difficult in mid-stage Parkinson’s.
As a result of worsening symptoms, people suffering from mid-stage Parkinson’s may find activities of daily living, particularly those that require fine motor skills and coordination, increasingly difficult. Formerly independent individuals may require help with tasks like cooking and cleaning. It is also during the middle stages of the disease that many people may have to stop working. It’s important for people living with Parkinson’s to pay close attention to changes in their symptoms, so that they can make the necessary adjustments and accommodations in order to remain safe, and to preserve health and quality of life for as long as possible.
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.