Parkinson’s disease is an incurable but treatable neurological disorder that will progress over time.
Over 60,000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year and will eventually need assistance and support.
Parkinson’s disease typically progresses slowly, but each person’s symptoms and experience will vary.
Medication and treatment are available to help seniors reduce and control their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Choosing the right care for your loved one can be difficult, but learning what type of help your loved one will need as they progress through their disease, will help you make the right choice.
Continue reading to learn more about Parkinson’s disease, care needs, options for care, and where to find a supportive and loving senior living community.
Understanding Parkinson’s disease
There is no single cause of Parkinson’s disease, as most scientists agree that a combination of environmental factors and genetics triggers the disease.
When adults with Parkinson’s disease have brain scans, like an MRI, these scans will show low dopamine levels and a breakdown of nerve cells in the substantia nigra region.
These low levels of dopamine and nerve cell death appear to be what causes most Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
While Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects a person’s ability to walk and move easily, it can also cause nonmotor symptoms that affect thinking and mood.
As the caregiver for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, you may need to help your loved one with transportation, and medication management, and assist them with activities of daily living.
You may consider recruiting other family members to share the responsibilities.
In the first stages of the disease, your loved one will be independent and require little care, but as their symptoms evolve, they may need more assistance than you can offer.
If your loved one’s care needs are too high for you to keep up with, a senior living community can give you and your loved one the support you need.
Stages of Parkinson’s and their impact on care needs
As your loved one’s disease progresses to an advanced stage, their symptoms may worsen. This can happen in several years or after decades of living with the disease.
Every individual will move through the disease differently, but maintaining their health can help slow down symptoms.
You and your loved one may not realize they have the disease yet because Parkinson’s symptoms will be mild.
Since your loved one will still be independent and only experience minor symptoms such as changes in gait and posture, they may believe it’s due only to aging.
During this stage, your loved one will likely know they have the disease and show more symptoms.
Since Parkinson’s affects one’s motor ability, they may have a more difficult time with their posture, walking, and tremors. Despite this, they can still do most things for themselves.
You may need to help them get to and from doctor appointments, help with yard work, and do tasks that require a lot of labor or walking.
In these later stages, your loved one’s motor symptoms will worsen and increase their risk of falls. They may begin to have difficulties with eating and drinking.
Though your loved one will still have some of their independence and can live at home with in-home care, an assisted living community may be beneficial.
A healthcare professional may find medication and therapy helpful for your loved one if they’re not receiving it yet.
Your loved one’s disease will be considered advanced now, and it will be unsafe for them to live at home alone.
While they can still walk and stand without assistance, they will need a cane or walker to be safe and help with most daily tasks.
The final stage of Parkinson’s disease is the most challenging for seniors and their loved ones. Your loved one will no longer be able to stand or walk and will be confined to a wheelchair or bed.
Around-the-clock medical care is necessary at this point and is the most significant benefit that assisted living can offer.
Parkinson’s care options
While your loved one may not require much of your time and support early on in their disease, their needs will increase. You’ll need to find additional support and resources.
That includes for yourself, as a caregiver. Attending support groups for caregivers and specifically for family members of those with Parkinson’s can help ease stress that so easily comes with caring for a loved one.
Adult care services
If you need a break from caregiving, some programs offer specialized care for adults with various conditions. This will help you get the break you need and give your loved one opportunities to socialize with others while maintaining their health.
An assisted living community is an excellent choice for seniors who want to be part of a community and those with high care needs. The average assisted living resident finds comfort in the social environment and the security of having round-the-clock care.
At a senior living community like The Kensington White Plains, your loved one can transition from our assisted living community to one of our memory care neighborhoods if they begin to experience cognitive decline.
Memory care communities benefit seniors experiencing cognitive impairment, like trouble concentrating, confusion, and memory loss.
When a loved one has advanced Parkinson’s disease and needs 24-hour care, many opt for hospice. This decision is typically made when there is no longer a way to maintain or improve their health. Hospice can allow your loved one to age with dignity, peacefully, and pain-free.
Parkinson’s in-home care vs. assisted living
In-home care can be a great choice for seniors who want to remain in their homes and need minimal assistance.
If staying in the home is safe and will allow your loved one to maintain the best quality of life, there is generally no harm in this type of care.
However, as your loved one’s disease progresses, living at may not be a safe option, and their care needs may be too difficult to manage and maintain.
An assisted living community would become safer for your loved one and still give them a non-restrictive environment.
Enhanced assisted living communities provide life-enrichment activities, help with grooming, bathing, housekeeping, medication management, wellness programs, and dining services.
To ensure your loved one receives the best support, choose a community that is familiar with the effects of Parkinson’s disease and has a team that is trained to accommodate seniors with Parkinson’s
How enhanced assisted living communities provide the best care
When your loved one transitions to our community, they will benefit from Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.
We stand behind Our Promise by providing high-acuity care with compassion, patience, understanding, and respect—no matter how our residents’ care needs change.
Our communities offer on-site rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy. As well as on-site nurses, an on-site physician’s office, fun life-enrichment activities, and healthy dining.
For residents experiencing Parksinson’s disease, White Plains offers a unique piece of equipment called the Alinker Bike to help them exercise regardless of any mobility issues.
With our enhanced assisted living license, we can provide special services, such as:
- Alzheimer’s care
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis care
- Multiple sclerosis care
- Dementia care
- Parkinson’s disease care
- Diabetes management
- Wellness classes with fitness equipment