A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis impacts loved ones in addition to the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the disease advances is vital to being ready for the changes to come and to making the most of every day.
In our three-part series, we will be posting blogs about what to anticipate in each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what family caregivers can do to best assist a loved one with Parkinson’s, and how Abby Senior Care can help. Read part 1 and part 3 of our series.
Middle Stages Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s progresses into the middle stages, one of the top worries is loss of balance, and fall prevention becomes paramount. Bear in mind, however, that through the middle phase of the disease, the individual with Parkinson’s usually can still fully participate in everyday tasks like putting on clothes, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It is important to permit added time for the person to finish these tasks, however, as you begin to notice a marked slowing down in self-care capabilities.
Additional changes to watch for in this stage include:
- Increased rigidity, tremors, and stiffness
- Increased fatigue
- Changes to sleep patterns along with other sleeping difficulties
- Communication issues, including slurring words and a deeper and more hoarse tone of voice
The Effect of the Middle Stages of Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers
Even though the effect on caregiving duties has probably been minimal up until this point, care needs start to advance in the middle stages of Parkinson’s. To further compound the challenges, difficulty with communicating can lead to aggravation for both the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.
It’s typical for caregivers to deal with higher anxiety, stress, and worry at this time in the disease. There could be concern over how to meet the continuously increasing needs of the individual they love. These feelings could be amplified by lack of sleep and/or other important facets of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the advancement of Parkinson’s, it is quite crucial for family caregivers to focus on self-care.
How Care Providers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care
One easy way to help in this phase would be to implement modifications to the home environment to ensure both safety and continued independence. Even the simplest adjustments can make a positive change. For instance, try:
- Getting rid of throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and other things that can pose a tripping danger
- Installing handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
- Buying clothing and shoes that are more convenient for self-dressing, like shoes with Velcro rather than laces, pull-on trousers, shirts with snaps instead of buttons, etc.
- Replacing the person’s manual razor and toothbrush with electric versions
- Exploring adaptive tools like knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with bigger, easier-to-grip handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.
Abby Senior Care’s award-winning home care in Highlands Ranch, CO and the surrounding areas is here to work with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you develop a practical plan of care that will make sure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.
It’s essential to remember that caregiving should not be a solo undertaking. Reach out to us at 303-699-8840 for a complimentary in-home assessment to learn more about our senior care services and how we can ease the changes through Parkinson’s, both for you and the senior you love.