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A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis impacts members of the family along with the person diagnosed. Understanding what to anticipate as the disease advances is key to being prepared for the changes ahead and to make life the best it can be every day.

Over the next month or two, we’ll be posting what to expect in each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what family caregivers can do to best help a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Morning Glory Home Care can help.

Early Stage Parkinson’s

Each person experiences Parkinson’s in various ways, but in general, the initial stage symptoms are fairly mild, and most experience no functional impairment. One side of the body is generally impacted first, with periodic tremors and/or stiffness in one hand or leg or expression changes in one side of the face.

As the illness continues through the early stage, both sides of the body start to go through these changes. This advancement may take months or possibly even years. While balance is still usually not impaired at this point, other changes may include:

  • A softer tone of voice, or one that begins loud but fades in volume as the person continues to talk
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased blinking as well as other facial expression changes
  • A general slowness in performing daily activities
  • Increased stiffness and/or rigidity in muscles
  • Pain in the neck or back
  • A progressively stooped posture

The Effect of Early Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers

The initial diagnosis and early stage can be a difficult time for the person with the disease and close loved ones. Taking time to sort out these emotions is important, through professional counseling, talking with a clergy member or close friend, journaling, and visiting Parkinson’s support groups, either virtual or in person.

While hands-on care is generally not needed (or welcomed) during this period, it’s the ideal time to begin to put a plan in place for the changes in the future. For instance, contemplate whether you’ll want to work outside of the home as the disease becomes more serious, or if you want to be home to offer full-time care. Would the person diagnosed prefer to remain in the home throughout the progression of the disease, or to transfer to a care facility? Who is able to join your support network to allow you to take regular breaks for self-care and also to manage shopping, housework, preparing meals, as well as the other necessary everyday tasks?

Morning Glory Home Care’s award-winning experts in home health care in Alton, IL and nearby areas are here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you prepare a proactive plan of care that will guarantee all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.

It is important to understand that caregiving should never be a solo undertaking. Reach out to us at 618-667-8400 for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our senior care services and how we are able to ease the transition through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love.