Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
While many people associate Parkinson’s disease with tremors and balance and mobility problems, there are a handful of symptoms that often appear earlier in the course of the disease. If you are concerned about the health or wellbeing of an aging loved one and suspect that Parkinson’s may be the cause for their changes in physical or mental abilities, Home Care Assistance of Mesa presents are a few warning signs to be aware of. While common, keep in mind that some of these symptoms are fairly general and can be associated with a handful of other advanced conditions.
- Voice Changes – You may notice that your loved one is speaking more quietly than they used to, is slurring their speech or speaking in a monotone. These changes may be quite subtle and often times, family and friends will notice before your loved one does. Voice changes due to Parkinson’s occur because of weakness and stiffness in the muscles of the face and throat. This weakness can also cause your loved one’s face to become less expressive, one of the more noticeable warning signs of the disease.
- Loss of the Ability to Taste and Smell – Your loved one might complain that their meals are bland, or maybe they are no longer bothered by strong smells. The loss of smell and taste is sometimes overlooked by the patient, but scientists believe it is a significant sign of the neural cell die-off that causes Parkinson’s. Make note if your aging loved one’s tastes dramatically change, such as no longer enjoying a favorite meal and if their ability to taste and smell seems to worsen, consider making an appointment with their primary care physician.
- Smaller Handwriting – Because of the increased stiffness and slowness of hand muscles, your loved one’s handwriting might suddenly become more cramped and crowded. A gradual change is more typical of normal aging and it can often be difficult to detect. Other activities that require similar motor skills such as getting dressed, tying shoes or washing dishes might also take more time and become more challenging.
- Unusual Sleep Activity – If someone is thrashing, crying out or moving a great deal while sleeping, it may be an early sign of Parkinson’s. This activity is called rapid eye-movement behavior disorder, and more than a third of people who suffer from it will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s at some point. Unusual sleep activity is associated with a number of other disorders and getting a good night’s rest is important for all seniors; therefore, if your aging loved experiences problems sleeping, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor.
If your elderly loved one is showing one or more of the above symptoms, their doctor may recommend a thorough examination by a neurologist. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, early intervention, medication and the assistance of a professional in-home Parkinson’s caregiver can significantly help slow the progression of the disease. To learn more about Parkinson’s care for seniors in Mesa, AZ contact a Home Care Assistance Care Manager at (480) 699-4899. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and we are more than happy to answer any of your questions about senior home care.