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The Hidden Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease

Most people are familiar with the obvious signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s. These signs include problems with motor coordination like tremors, postural instability, rigidity and slowness of movement. Although these changes in motor skills can be disruptive to a senior’s daily life, those living with Parkinson’s encounter other challenges that often go unnoticed by friends, family members and the community as a whole.

As a home care agency in Boca Raton, we always recommend that families of seniors with Parkinson’s learn to recognize the lesser-known effects of the disease to better care for their loved one. These can include neuropsychiatric disturbances, which are disorders of mood, speech, behavior, thought and cognition. These disturbances range from mild to severe and increase in relation to the duration of the disease.

Cognitive disturbances are frustrating for those living with Parkinson’s. The disease often causes difficulties in recalling learned information, thinking abstractly, planning, executing appropriate actions, inhibiting inappropriate actions, and selecting relevant sensory information. These cognitive challenges make it difficult for those with Parkinson’s to communicate with friends and family and may contribute to the prevalence and severity of mood disturbances.

Patients with both dementia and Parkinson’s disease are at a greater risk of developing problems with behavior and mood. The most frequent issues are apathy, depression and anxiety, but also include problems with impulse control that can result in behaviors like binge eating, gambling and hyper-sexuality. These impulse control issues, as well as psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations, are most often caused by medications, making it important for the caregivers of Parkinson’s patients to be on alert for any behavioral changes. Psychotic symptoms often come as a surprise to the loved ones of a Parkinson’s patient, but affect up to 40% of those living with the disease and often manifest in phobias and paranoia.

In addition to impairing cognition and motor coordination, Parkinson’s can cause troubling problems like constipation, sleep disturbances, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, an impaired sense of smell, gastrointestinal disturbances, and fatigue. As a result, some Parkinson’s patients may require additional help with daily activities to ensure safety and comfort. If you are unable to provide assistance, consider a Boca Raton live-in caregiver who can ensure safety around the clock and help your loved one maintain his or her regular routine with as much independence as possible.

If you have an aging loved one who’s living with Parkinson’s, continue educating yourself on the disease and make an effort to improve his or her quality of life by paying attention to troubling behaviors and communicating your observations to caregivers and physicians. For more information about Parkinson’s care, reach out to the trusted Boca Raton Parkinson’s care provider, Home Care Assistance. Our highly trained Parkinson’s caregivers are available 24/7 and we offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations so you can learn more about care services and schedules. Call 561-826-9282 today and speak with a friendly and experienced Care Manager.