Roughly 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. If your senior loved one has recently been diagnosed, think about these six things patients with Parkinson’s wish their physicians had told them.
1. Neurologists are not all Parkinson’s specialists.
While neurologists are usually the type of doctors that handle Parkinson’s, not all of them have specialized knowledge of this disease. It is recommended that seniors seek neurologists who have a deeper understanding of movement disorders.
2. The side effects of Parkinson’s medications can be just as bad as the actual symptoms of the disease.
Parkinson’s reduces the creation of the chemical dopamine in the brain. This reduction in dopamine is why the disease causes movement problems. Because of the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s, seniors are often on multiple medications to treat the wide variety of symptoms. These medications come at a cost, however. Some can cause insomnia, twitching, repetitive body movements, and occasionally lack of appetite. It’s important to pinpoint which of the medications are helping and which may be causing harm.
3. Physical therapy and exercise can help with symptoms.
Intense exercise has been proven to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors don’t often readily share this advice with patients for reasons unknown. It is good for seniors and their in-home caregivers to know that exercising regularly can improve both mental and physical wellbeing.
4. It can take time to figure out the best treatment.
Levodopa is the most commonly prescribed medication for Parkinson’s, but there are many other medications (used for Parkinson’s or otherwise) that can help treat your loved one’s unique symptoms. It can take some time to find the unique combination of treatment that works for your loved one.
5. Not all symptoms are neurological.
Contrary to general thought, Parkinson’s can cause more than just shaky hands and stiffness. It can also contribute to sleep and mood problems, constipation, and speech issues.
6. Keeping family and friends in the loop is beneficial.
Although some seniors may be hesitant to share their experiences with friends and family, having an informed support system can make all the difference. Keeping family up to date can help patients through difficult decisions and provide emotional support along the way.
Life will change after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, but quality of life doesn’t have to. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elderly care Douglas County families trust, and we can help your loved one maintain his or her health, wellbeing, and safety after a PD diagnosis. Give us a call at 720-580-5378 to learn about our flexible care schedules and schedule a free in-home consultation.