Parkinson’s Disease Stages & Symptoms

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According to the National Parkinson Foundation, approximately one percent of seniors over the age of 60 have Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that affects mental health and mobility. There are five different stages of Parkinson’s disease. Understanding which stage your senior loved one is in and what to expect during each stage can help you better care for him or her. 

 

Stage One

During stage one of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms typically occur on only one side of the body (unilateral involvement). Symptoms may include slight tremors, clumsiness, or rigidity. Your loved one’s symptoms may be so mild that they’re easily overlooked and may be misdiagnosed by a doctor. Functional impairment is rare in stage one, and your loved one should be able to continue with normal daily activities. 

 

Stage Two

In stage two, many of the symptoms are the same as those during the first stage. However, these symptoms will appear on both sides of the body, which is known as bilateral involvement. It may take anywhere from months to years to reach stage two. In this stage, you may also notice your loved one blinks less, has a loss of facial expression, speaks in a soft voice with a monotone, and sometimes slurs words. Your loved one will still be able to manage normal daily activities but may move more slowly and complain of sore or stiff muscles after a full day. 

 

Stage Three

Also known as “mid-stage,” stage three of Parkinson’s disease may begin to affect daily activities. In this stage, your loved one will begin to lose balance, which may result in falling. Reflexes will also be impaired during this stage, which could make daily activities such as eating and dressing slightly more difficult.

In this stage, your loved one may benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated senior home care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

 

Stage Four

Stage four occurs when your loved one is no longer able to perform daily activities independently. The symptoms of tremors, rigidity, and loss of balance are severe. Though your loved one may be able to continue to stand up unassisted, walking will be unmanageable without the use of a walker. During this stage of Parkinson’s disease, your loved one may no longer be able to live independently. 

Seniors in this stage can live at home, but they may need the assistance of a family or professional caregiver. For many seniors in Naples, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we extensively screen all of our caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

 

Stage Five

The final stage of Parkinson’s disease, stage five, is the most severe and debilitating. Your loved one’s legs may be so stiff and rigid that standing and walking are no longer possible. Your loved one may need to use a wheelchair to move around or may be confined to a bed. Mental health will be affected during this stage, and hallucinations or delusions are possible.

Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Naples families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Assisting Hands Home Care today.