Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that impacts coordination, strength, balance, and dexterity. The most common symptom of this disease is tremors, but there are a wide variety of early warning signs caregivers should watch out for. When this condition is caught early on, some seniors are able to minimize the symptoms with various treatments and medications.
1. Diminishing Sense of Smell
A senior’s sense of smell naturally diminishes with age, but those changes should be very gradual. Seniors with Parkinson’s might suddenly notice changes in their sense of smell over the course of a few months. Those who have a difficult time smelling certain odors should immediately schedule appointments with their doctors. This issue could be the result of a respiratory infection, Parkinson’s disease, or another health condition that must be addressed right away.
2. Small Handwriting
Also known as micrographia, small handwriting is one of the most unusual symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Many experts believe Parkinson’s damages the area of the brain responsible for precise movements such as writing. You might also notice your loved one’s handwriting appears jittery or messy because of minor tremors. Strengthening the hands and wrists is one of the most effective ways to address this symptom.
Parkinson’s disease is a serious health concern that can impact a senior’s ability to perform daily tasks independently. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Difficulty Sleeping
As the disease progresses, many seniors find it very difficult to get enough sleep. Throughout the night, they might wake themselves up multiple times by thrashing their arms or kicking their legs. If your loved one doesn’t seem to be getting enough sleep, contact a local sleep institute so he or she can be monitored overnight. During one of these studies, a team of experts can take a look at your loved one’s brain waves and vital signs while he or she is sleeping.
Seniors with Parkinson’s can live at home, but at some point, they will need the assistance of family members or a professional caregiver. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Mesa seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Straining to move the bowels is another early warning sign of Parkinson’s that shouldn’t be ignored. While this symptom can affect a senior’s quality of life, it’s relatively easy to treat for most people. Seniors with constipation should try to eat fiber-rich foods such as lentils, broccoli, beans, and peas. Your loved one should immediately head to the emergency room if he or she hasn’t had a bowel movement for more than a week and see a doctor if he or she is experiencing secondary symptoms such as nausea or stomach pain.
5. Masked Face
When the facial muscles aren’t receiving instructions from the brain, seniors might experience a condition known as facial masking. Seniors with facial masking often appear to be angry or perturbed at all times. This symptom isn’t dangerous, but seniors should contact their doctors for further testing. There currently isn’t a cure for facial masking, but some seniors with Parkinson’s benefit from working with speech therapists.
Parkinson’s disease can be particularly difficult to manage, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Mesa Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (480) 699-4899 today.