A diagnosis of Parkinson’s impacts loved ones in addition to the person diagnosed. Understanding what to anticipate as the disease progresses is key to being ready for the changes in the future and to making life the best it can be each day.
In our three-part series, we’ll be sharing details about what to expect in each of the stages of Parkinson’s disease, including what family caregivers can do to best help a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Grace Home Care, a provider of professional Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s care in Topeka, can help. Read part one and part three of our series.
Middle Stages of Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s progresses into the middle stages, one of top concerns is loss of balance, and fall prevention becomes paramount. Bear in mind, however, that through the middle stage of the illness, the person with Parkinson’s can usually still fully participate in daily tasks like putting on clothes, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It’s important to permit more time for the person to accomplish these activities, however, as you begin to observe a marked slowing in self-care abilities.
- Other changes to anticipate in this stage include:
- Increased rigidity, tremors, and stiffness
- Increased tiredness
- Changes to sleep patterns as well as other sleeping issues
- Communication issues, like slurring words and a lower and more hoarse tone of voice
The Effect of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Although the effect on care tasks has likely been minimal up to this point, care needs start to escalate in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further compound the challenges, trouble with communication can lead to stress for the person with Parkinson’s and family caregivers.
It’s typical for caregivers to deal with increased anxiety, stress, and worry at this stage in the illness. There may be concern over how exactly to meet the progressively increasing needs of the person they love. These feelings may be magnified by insufficient sleep and/or other important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the progression of Parkinson’s, it’s crucial for family caregivers to prioritize taking care of themselves.
How Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One important way to provide support in this stage is to implement adjustments to the home environment to ensure both safety and ongoing independence. Even the most straightforward modifications can make a positive change. For instance, try:
- Eliminating throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and other things that can pose a tripping danger
- Installing handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Purchasing clothing and shoes that are easier for self-dressing, such as shoes with Velcro rather than laces, pull-on pants, shirts with snaps rather than buttons, etc.
- Replacing the person’s manual toothbrush and razor with electric models
- Researching adaptive tools such as knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with bigger, easier-to-hold handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Grace Home Care’s award-winning caregiving professionals are here to work with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We are able to help you devise a proactive 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. Call us at 785-286-2273 for a no-cost in-home consultation to learn more about our senior care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s both for you and the senior you love.