Parkinson’s has affected over one million people in the United States, and doctors diagnose 60,000 new cases every year. There is currently no known cure for Parkinson’s, but seniors who are diagnosed with this condition early can delay many of its symptoms.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Bridgewater Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Here is a look at some of the lesser-known symptoms of Parkinson’s that seniors and caregivers should keep an eye out for.
1. Bladder and Bowel Problems
These symptoms are frequently ignored because they are often associated with other health conditions. Parkinson’s disease attacks the nervous system, which can cause gastrointestinal problems such as gas and constipation. Seniors with Parkinson’s often experience incontinence or difficulty urinating even after consuming plenty of water.
2. Loss of Smell
Having difficulty smelling things is one of the first signs of Parkinson’s, but many people ignore this symptom until much later on. Much like bowel issues, a loss of smell can be attributed to other age-related disorders. Seniors who have a difficult time smelling strong odors should schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor to have their senses tested.
3. Changes in Sleeping Habits
Any immediate and unusual changes in sleep habits should not be taken lightly. This includes insomnia, restless leg syndrome, panic attacks at night, and sleep apnea. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, around 40 percent of people with Parkinson’s develop sleep apnea.
4. Personality Changes
Researchers are unsure why Parkinson’s disease causes personality changes, but this symptom is common among seniors with central nervous system disorders. Caregivers should be wary of unusual emotional outbursts, depression, and panic attacks. These symptoms can often be treated with prescription medications.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Bridgewater seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
5. Excessive Sweating
Also referred to as hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating can result in rashes and skin infections. Seniors with Parkinson’s might notice other issues with their skin such as dry lips and scaly patches. They may also have a difficult time swallowing due to chronic dehydration.
6. Reduced Range of Motion
During the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, seniors can develop minor issues with the range of motion in their arms. Some seniors find it difficult to raise their arms up or swing them back and forth, while others have a tough time bending their knees or leaning over to pick up objects.
7. Voice Changes
As this disorder progresses, it will eventually affect the muscles that control speech. Once this takes place, the senior’s voice seems hushed or monotone. This symptom can temporarily be treated by meeting with a speech therapist.
8. Persistent Neck and Shoulder Pain
Ongoing neck pain is the third most common side effect of Parkinson’s, but many doctors mistakenly attribute the chronic pain to arthritis or other joint problems. This symptom also seems to affect more women than men. The discomfort can either feel like a dull ache in the neck muscles or a sharp pain between the shoulder blades.
If your aging loved one is living with Parkinson’s disease, Bridgewater Parkinson’s home care can benefit him or her in many ways. At Home Care Assistance, our Parkinson’s caregivers are available 24/7 to provide timely medication reminders, assist with mobility, prepare healthy meals, and help with a variety of other tasks that can make it easier for your loved one to age in place safely and comfortably. Call us at [hca_today] and create a customized Parkinson’s care plan for your senior loved one.