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

Over the next several months, we’ll be sharing what to anticipate in each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what family caregivers can do to best help a family member with Parkinson’s, and how Grace Home Care, experts in Topeka dementia care and Parkinson’s assistance, can help. Read part two and part three of our series.

Early Stage Parkinson’s

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

As the illness continues through the first stage, both sides of the body will experience these changes. These developments can take months or possibly years. While balance typically remains unimpaired at this time, other changes may include:

  • A softer modulation of voice, or one which 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 day to day activities
  • Increased stiffness and/or rigidity in muscles
  • Pain in the neck or back
  • A more stooped posture

The Effect of Early Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers

The initial prognosis and early stage can be an emotional time for both the person with the disease and close members of the family. Taking time to work through these emotions is important, through professional counseling, talking with a clergy member or good friend, journaling, and exploring Parkinson’s support groups, either online or in person.

While hands-on care is normally not needed (or welcomed) at this time, it is the ideal time for you to start to put a strategy in place for the changes to come. For example, contemplate whether you will need to work outside the home as the disease advances, or if you desire to be home to provide full-time care. Would the person diagnosed choose to remain in the home throughout the progression of the disease, or to move into a care facility? Who is able to join your support network to help you to take regular breaks from Parkinson’s care to attend to shopping, housework, preparing meals, and all of the other essential everyday tasks?

Grace Home Care’s award-winning caregiving experts are here to assist 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 adjust in the future.

It is important to understand that caregiving should not be a solo endeavor. Call us at 785-286-2273 for a no-cost in-home consultation to learn more about our in-home care services and how we can ease the transitions through Parkinson’s both for you and the senior you love.