A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis impacts family members in addition to the person diagnosed. Understanding what to expect as the disease progresses is vital to being prepared for the changes ahead and to make life the best it can be every day.

During the next few months, we will be sharing what to anticipate in each stage of Parkinson’s disease, including what those caring for seniors with Parkinson’s may do to best offer support, and how At-Home Care Company, a top home care provider, can help. Read part two and part three of our series.

Early Stage Parkinson’s

Each person experiences Parkinson’s in various ways, but in general, the first stage symptoms are fairly mild, and most experience no functional impairment. One side of the body is usually impacted first, with periodic tremors and/or inflexibility in one hand or leg, or expression changes in one side of the face.

As the illness continues through the first stage, both sides of the body start to go through these changes. This progression could take months or possibly even years. While balance typically remains unimpaired at this time, other changes can sometimes include:

  • A quieter tone of voice, or one which starts off more loudly but fades in volume as the person keeps talking
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased blinking along with other facial expression changes
  • A general slowness in doing daily activities
  • Increased stiffness and/or rigidity in muscles
  • Neck or back pain
  • A more stooped posture

The Impact of Early Stage Parkinson’s on Family Care Providers

The initial diagnosis and early stage may be an emotional time for both the person with the disease and close family members. Taking time to work through these emotions is very important, through professional counseling, talking with a clergy member or close friend, journaling, and visiting Parkinson’s support groups, either online or in person.

While hands-on care is usually not necessary (or welcomed) at this point, it’s a good time for you to start to plan for the changes to come. For example, consider whether you will be able to work outside of the home as the disease progresses, or if you wish to be home to offer full-time care. Would the person diagnosed prefer to remain in the home throughout the progression of the disease, or to move into a care facility? Who is able to join your support network to allow you to take regular breaks for self-care and to attend to housework, meal prep, shopping, and the other required everyday responsibilities?

At-Home Care Company’s knowledgeable in-home care team is here to partner with you through each stage of Parkinson’s. We can help you create a practical plan of care that will guarantee all needs are met now, and as they change in the future.

It is important to understand that caregiving should never be a solo endeavor. Contact us at 515-292-2650 for a complimentary in-home assessment and for more information on our senior care services. We’d love to share more about how we can ease the transition through Parkinson’s for both you and the senior you love. To learn more about why families trust At-Home Care Company, a top-rated Des Moines dementia care and home care provider, reach out to us today. For a full list of all of the communities where our home care services are available, please visit our Service Area page.