A diagnosis of Parkinson’s not just the person diagnosed, but those caring for loved ones with the disease. Understanding what to expect as the disease progresses is vital to being ready for the changes to come and to making the most of every day.
In our three-part series about caring for loved one with Parkinson’s, we will be sharing information about what to expect in each stage of the journey. Blog posts will include information about what family caregivers can do to best assist a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a provider of professional at home care in Kansas City and the surrounding communities, can assist. Read part one and part three is our series.
Middle Stage Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s advances into the middle stage, one of the top issues is losing balance, and fall prevention will become very important. Keep in mind, however, that through the middle stage of the illness, the person with Parkinson’s can typically still fully take part in daily tasks like putting on clothes, looking after personal hygiene, and eating. It is essential to allow more time for the individual to finish these tasks, however, as you begin to notice a marked slowing in self-care capabilities.
- Additional changes to anticipate in this stage include:
- Increased rigidity, tremors, and stiffness
- Increased tiredness
- Changes to sleep routines as well as other sleeping issues
- Communication issues, like slurring words and a deeper and more hoarse tone of voice
The Effect of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Although the impact on care duties has likely been minimal up until this time, care needs begin to advance in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further compound the challenges, trouble with communication can cause aggravation for the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It is common for caregivers to face heightened stress, worry, and anxiety at this stage in the disease. There may be worry over just how to meet the steadily increasing needs of the person they love. These emotions can be exacerbated by lack of sleep and/or other important facets of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the development of Parkinson’s, it is vitally important for family caregivers to prioritize taking care of themselves.
How Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One way to help in this phase is to implement changes to the home environment to ensure both safety and ongoing independence. Even the simplest modifications can have a positive impact. For instance, try:
- Getting rid of throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything else that can pose a tripping risk
- Adding handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Purchasing clothing and shoes that are better 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 razor and toothbrush with electric models
- Exploring adaptive tools like knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with larger, easier-to-grasp handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s highly trained in-home care professionals are here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you create a practical plan of care that will ensure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It’s essential to remember that providing care should never be a solo effort. Give us a call at 913-440-4209 for a free in-home assessment for more information on our senior care services and how we can ease the transitions through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love.