A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis affects members of the family in addition to the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the illness advances is vital to being prepared for the changes in the future and to making life the best it can be each day.
In our three-part series focusing on taking care of a loved one with Parkinson’s, we’ll be posting blogs about what to expect in each stage of the disease. Information will focus on what family caregivers can do to best help a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Morning Glory Home Care, a dedicated provider of home health services in Belleville, IL and the surrounding areas, can help. Read part one and part three in our series.
Middle Stage Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s advances into the middle stage, one of the top worries is diminished balance, and fall prevention becomes important. Keep in mind, however, that throughout the middle stage of the illness, the individual with Parkinson’s in most cases will still be able to fully engage in everyday activities like getting dressed, looking after personal hygiene, and eating. It is important to permit additional time for the individual to complete these tasks, however, as you begin to notice a marked slowing down in self-care abilities.
Some other changes to watch for in this stage include:
- Increased stiffness, rigidity, and tremors
- Increased tiredness
- Changes to sleep habits along with other sleeping difficulties
- Communication trouble, including slurring words and a deeper and more hoarse tone of voice
The Impact of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
While the effect on caregiving tasks has probably been minimal up to this time, care needs will intensify in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further complicate the challenges, trouble with communication can cause stress for the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It’s common for those taking care of a loved one with Parkinson’s to deal with increased stress, worry, and anxiety at this time in the disease. There may be concern over the best way to meet the steadily growing needs of the individual they love. These emotions can be worsened by insufficient sleep and/or other important aspects of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the progression of Parkinson’s, it is very important for family caregivers to prioritize self-care.
How Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One way to help in this phase is to implement adjustments to the home setting to ensure both safety and continued independence. Even the most basic adjustments can make a positive change. For example, try:
- Getting rid of throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything that may pose a tripping risk
- Adding handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Purchasing clothing and shoes that are easier for self-dressing, such as shoes with Velcro instead of laces, pull-on trousers, shirts with snaps rather than buttons, etc.
- Replacing the person’s manual toothbrush and razor with electric versions
- Exploring adaptive tools such as knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with larger, easier-to-grasp handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Morning Glory Home Care’s award-winning in-home care team is here to work with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you formulate a practical plan of care that will make sure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It’s important to understand that providing care should never be a solo effort. Reach out to us at 618-667-8400 for a complimentary in-home assessment to learn more about our in-home care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s both for you and the senior you love.