Tips for Caring for a Senior in the First Stage of Parkinson’s Disease
Greg and Hilary Eldridge
For the approximately one million people in the United States who are currently living with Parkinson’s disease and the 60,000 who will receive a diagnosis of PD this year, the earliest indications of the disease occur in what is known as Stage One. During this stage the symptoms of the disease are mild and may be barely noticeable to your aging parent or to you as their caregiver. They might have some tremors or other movement symptoms on one side of the body, and you may notice changes in their posture, gait, or facial expressions. Though these symptoms are mild, the care that you can give them is still vital to their quality of life now and as they progress.
Use these tips to help you care for a senior in the first stage of Parkinson’s disease:
- Talk to them about their diagnosis. Talking to your loved one about their diagnosis is the first step in preparing them to handle their progression. Encourage them to express their emotions and concerns so that you can help them through them. This can boost their confidence and ready both of you for what is ahead.
- Start making decisions. Though the symptoms and challenges at this stage are mild and the progression of PD can take 20 years or more for some individuals, the earliest stage is the time to start making decisions for the future. Remember that some people will progress much more quickly and may experience cognitive functioning decline during moderate to later stages. Making decisions about issues such as artificial resuscitation, life support, hospice, legal and financial matters, care preferences, final arrangements, and more can help to make both of you feel more confident that you are ready for what is to come, no matter how long it takes.
- Start a care routine. Your loved one will still be independent at this stage, but starting a care routine is a great way to help them feel secure and ensure that when their symptoms do progress, they are ready to handle them effectively. This a great time to start considering introducing an elderly care provider into their lives so that they can get used to them and the idea of receiving care.
If your elderly loved one has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or their symptoms have progressed to the point that they are too challenging for you to handle on your own, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elderly care for them. The highly personalized services of an elderly home care services provider can be instrumental in helping your parent to handle their condition effectively while also pursuing the active, independent, and fulfilling quality of life that they desire and deserve as they age in place. This is not only about helping them to handle the symptoms and challenges that they are currently suffering. The customized schedule and personalized services of a care provider can also help your parent to prepare for the next stage in their progressive journey. As each stage presents new challenges and symptoms, preparing in the previous stage can make the transition smoother and less difficult for your senior, and for you as their caregiver. Starting care as early in the progression of the disease as possible is an effective way of making sure that your parent can handle this condition in the best way possible. Even during the earliest stages of the disease, the personalized services of a care provider can help your loved one to get their body as healthy as possible and develop routines that they can carry through as they disease progresses.
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