Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. And as PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, thus leaving a person unable to control movement normally. The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following: tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), dyskinesia, rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is chronic. It persists over time and symptoms get worse with time. Signs of advanced Parkinson’s include: great difficulty walking; person becomes wheelchair- or bed-bound, assistance needed with all daily activities (eating, bathing, dressing, etc.), difficulty swallowing, dementia and significant memory loss plus additional cognitive problems may be prominent including hallucinations and delusions. In essence, the person afflicted with advanced PD is unable to live alone without round the clock assistance.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) recommends exercise for those with Parkinson’s as a way to maximize health and independence. The Kensington provides our residents with a variety of exercise and wellness programs including HealthPRO Heritago. HealthPRO Heritage Rehabilitation is an on-site wellness program designed to fit all cognitive and fitness levels of our residents. Rehabilitation Programs are conducted 5 days per week. Through all these wellness programs including HealthPRO Heritage Rehabilitation, we are looking to alleviate some symptoms of PD – increase strength and mobility, relieve some stiffness, and increase balance and coordination.
Some experts believe regular exercise plus physical therapy is very important for good mobility and balance for those with PD while occupational therapy may provide strategies for maintaining independence. Through our on-site rehabilitation provided by HealthPRO Heritage, residents with Parkinson’s have access to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, Exercise Physiology, functional assessments, and falls and balance assessments.
Health Care providers in some senior living facilities may be unfamiliar with advanced PD’s unique symptoms or challenges. And, many of these communities cannot, or will not based on their organization’s senior living model, take care of residents with advanced Parkinson’s such as once a resident becomes bed-bound, has difficulty swallowing, or one who has late-stage dementia. But The Kensington is unique! The Kensington uses our enhanced assisted living license to the fullest extent allowing us to take care of seniors with no care needs to those who have extremely high care needs, allowing these residents to truly age in place. The Kensington care team can take care of residents who need a pureed diet or feeding tube due to swallowing difficulties, residents with early to end-stage dementia, and much more. Our staff receives specialized training, and with a higher caregiver to resident staffing ratio, we are able to provide the comprehensive assistance and support our PD residents require. Our goal at The Kensington is to provide a caring and supportive environment that allows residents a choice of personal services tailored to their specific needs and abilities.
If you’re the primary caregiver for an individual with Parkinson’s Disease, “caregiver burnout” is a very real—and very common—problem. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that occurs when someone is responsible for the long-term care of another person 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Caregivers often experience symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression. They feel guilty when they take time out for themselves—or neglect their own physical and emotional needs altogether.
At The Kensington, we believe that caregivers shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden alone—we’re here to help and we are dedicated to the long-term care of people with movement disorders including PD, thus allowing the caregiver to go back to playing the role of daughter/son or well-spouse.