Each year April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. As a top in-home caregiver agency in Philadelphia, PA, we at AmeriBest home care encourage people to learn more about Parkinsons and what they can do during April to make a difference.
What is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder, that primarily affects a person’s movement. The most common symptoms of the disease, which increase over time, include
- Decreased Facial Expressiveness: Parkinson’s weakens facial muscles, so the person may show no signs of smiling or frowning.
- Emotional Impact: Depression and behavior changes.
- Memory Loss.
- Muscle Stiffness: A Parkinson’s sufferer’s muscles never relax fully. Over time, this leads to limited motion, which is sometimes painful.
- Posture Changes: Over time it becomes difficult for someone with Parkinson’s to stand upright, and they may also experience balance issues.
- Sleep Disruption
- Slow Movement: Spontaneous movement becomes difficult with Parkinson’s. People move more slowly, shuffle, lower their speech volume, etc. In some instances, their gait may freeze temporarily.
- Tremors: Starting as small as one finger or foot, tremors occur usually when the body is at rest.
Men are at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s. It usually begins around the age of 60, but sometimes manifests as early as age 50. Some cases of Parkinson’s are hereditary, while others come from a combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition.
Many people dismiss early signs of Parkinson’s thinking of them as an effect of the normal aging process. The signs begin on one side of the body, or in one limb of the body. Eventually, Parkinson’s affects the entire way the body functions.
How to Get Involved
- Donate toward further research and community assistance.
- If you have noticed worrisome symptoms, make an appointment with a neurologist for yourself (peace of mind is worth it).
- Participate in fundraising walks virtually: https://www.apdaparkinson.org/get-involved/optimism-walks/
- Put up links on your Facebook Page or personal webpage so people can find webinars and request publications.https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month.
- Visit someone you know with Parkinson’s to offer your support, or volunteer at a facility specializing in the disease.
Being a Parkinson’s Caregiver
When you discover your loved one has Parkinson’s Disease, you want to do your best to help them. But what does “help” in this situation really mean? It’s a challenging diagnosis with equally challenging daily issues.
Tips for Effective Home Care
It might be tempting to take over responsibilities for your loved one. It’s a normal, but sometimes unnecessary, reaction. Let them do whatever they are capable of doing, for as long as they can. A sense of ongoing independence and self-sufficiency is important for mental wellbeing. Keep your dialog open to true needs. Have those tough conversations openly and honestly.
This is a complex disease. Learn all you can about Parkinson’s so you know what to expect. Nonprofit organizations like the National Parkinson’s Foundation have educational materials at the ready. Also, ask your health care provider and team for suggestions about community supports. The more you know, the less you’ll feel inadequate for the task ahead.
Going one step further, if your loved one will allow, come with them to each medical appointment. This gives you the opportunity to take notes and gain perspectives.
Beyond these actions, watch every missive from insurance companies, making sure prescriptions and services are adequately covered, and likewise make sure this individual takes their medications properly.
As Parkinson’s progresses, you may find you need professional assistance. AmeriBest caregivers are happy to step in and provide superior service for your loved one with Parkinson’s. We have a variety of services, one of which is sure to meet your needs. Our top home care agency offices stand by to review your request for information or reply to your email (email@example.com). You can also call us:
Toll Free 1-800-HOMECARE