A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis affects both loved ones and the person diagnosed. Understanding what to anticipate as the disease advances is key to being ready for the changes in the future and to making life the best it can be each day.

In our three-part series, we will be sharing what to anticipate during each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what family caregivers can do to best assist a family member with Parkinson’s, and how At-Home Care Company, a provider of Parkinson’s and dementia care in Des Moines, IA, can help. Read part one and part three of our series.

Middle Stage Parkinson’s

As Parkinson’s advances into the middle phase, one of the top issues is losing balance, and fall prevention becomes paramount. Keep in mind, however, that throughout the middle phase of the illness, the person with Parkinson’s can typically still fully participate in everyday tasks like getting dressed, tending to personal hygiene, and eating. It’s essential to permit more time for the individual to do these tasks, however, as you start to observe a noticeable slowing in self-care abilities.

Additional changes to watch for in this stage include:

  • Increased tremors, stiffness, and rigidity
  • Increased fatigue
  • Changes to sleep patterns and other sleeping difficulties
  • Constipation
  • Communication problems, including slurring words and a deeper and more hoarse tone of voice

The Effect of Middle Stage Parkinson’s on Family Caregivers

Even though the effect on caregiving duties has probably been very little up to this point, care needs begin to intensify in the middle stage of Parkinson’s. To further compound the challenges, difficulty with communication can cause stress for the person with Parkinson’s and family care providers.

It’s typical for caregivers to face increased stress, worry, and anxiety at this point in the disease. There may be concern over how to meet the progressively growing needs of the person they love. These emotions could be exacerbated by lack of sleep and/or other important aspects of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As is the case throughout the progression of Parkinson’s, it’s vitally important for family caregivers to prioritize self-care.

How Family Caregivers Can Help with Middle Stage Parkinson’s Care

One good way to provide support in this stage is to implement changes to the home setting to ensure both safety and ongoing independence. Even the most basic adjustments can make an impact. For instance, try:

  • Getting rid of throw rugs, clutter, extension cords, and anything else that may pose a tripping danger
  • Adding handrails and grab bars in the bathroom
  • Purchasing clothing and shoes that are easier for self-dressing, such as shoes with Velcro rather than laces, pull-on pants, shirts with snaps instead of buttons, etc.
  • Replacing the person’s manual razor and toothbrush with electric models
  • Researching adaptive tools such as knives that work with a rocking motion, utensils with larger, easier-to-grasp handles, levered door handles to replace knobs, etc.

At-Home Care Company’s highly trained senior care professionals are here to work with you through each stage of caring for Parkinson’s. We can help you develop a practical plan of care that will help ensure all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.

It’s important to understand that caregiving should not be a solo undertaking. Call us at 515-292-2650 for a no-cost in-home assessment to learn more about our in-home care services and how we can ease the transitions through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.