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Parkinson’s Disease: The 5 Stages

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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes symptoms such as uncontrollable movements, cognitive impairment, and speech impairment. The symptoms and progression of Parkinson’s vary from one person to the next. However, healthcare providers have determined there are five distinct phases seniors exhibit.

Stage 1

During this phase, the symptoms experienced may not be immediately noticed. Seniors might experience a slight tremor in a finger or in one hand. However, the abnormality doesn’t interfere with daily living. Thus, the older adult may attempt to ignore the symptom. Other seniors and their families may notice a change in facial expressions or posture. When Parkinson’s is definitively diagnosed, physicians prescribe medications that are typically effective at alleviating or minimizing symptoms.

Stage 2

Stage two may occur months or years after the initial diagnosis. In the second stage, the symptoms become more noticeable and seniors with Parkinson’s have more pronounced stiffness. The tremors or spastic movements are more widespread and intense. If facial muscles haven’t been previously affected, they may exhibit changes now. Seniors might also notice that speaking is more of a challenge. For some, muscular symptoms are now on both sides of the body. For others, the symptoms remain on one side. Walking might become more of a challenge, but balance is maintained. The progression of symptoms makes daily activities take longer to complete. However, older adults don’t typically need assistance during this time.

Stage 3

The third stage is considered the midpoint or turning phase of the disease. Some seniors may not experience any change in symptoms, while others have difficulty maintaining their balance. Reflexes are diminishing, and physical movements might become slower. The combined effects often contribute to falls during this phase. Seniors are able to care for themselves and accomplish tasks. However, the challenge is often dramatically increased. By now, seniors must add therapy to medication treatment to manage the symptoms. 

At this stage, your loved one may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated Henderson home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Stage 4

At this point in the disorder’s progression, seniors often lose the ability to remain independent. Living alone becomes dangerous. They may not be able to stand without assistance. Ambulating often means they must use a walker, a cane, or some other type of device. Physical movement becomes slower and more difficult secondary to stiffness and spasticity, which greatly decreases reaction time. As a result, accomplishing simple daily tasks becomes impossible independently. 

Seniors in this stage can live at home, but they may need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Henderson, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Stage 5

By now, the stiffness experienced makes standing and walking nearly impossible. Seniors often find they experience freezing that inhibits the ability to walk. Many older adults become wheelchair bound during this stage. They need assistance from loved ones or professional caregivers day and night. The progression of symptoms now includes cognitive impairment for up to one-third of seniors with Parkinson’s. Many experience confusion, delusions, or hallucinations. Approximately 75 percent exhibit the development of dementia. The physiological changes in the body cause seniors to experience side effects from their medications.

Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, 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 Henderson 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (702) 527-7723 today.