The onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be so gradual that the earliest symptoms sometimes go unnoticed. You might even think the symptoms your aging relative is experiencing are being caused by something else. Or, you might just pass them off as old age. Recognizing the symptoms of PD early on can mean getting them the medical care they need sooner.
Parkinson’s Risk Factors
Knowing whether your aging relative is at risk for PD can help you to watch for signs and symptoms, or it can ease your mind. Some of the risk factors for PD are:
- Age: Most cases of PD are diagnosed in people aged 60 or older.
- Gender: More men get PD than women.
- Family History: Having a close family member with PD increases the risk.
- Toxin Exposure: If your aging relative has been exposed to herbicides and pesticides for a long period of time, such as if they worked in agriculture, their risks for PD are higher.
Each person’s experience with PD is unique, so the symptoms vary. Some common symptoms of PD include:
- Tremor: Tremors are often the first symptom that people think of when the subject of PD arises. Tremors are uncontrollable shaking. They usually start in the hands or arms, but they can also happen in the feet or jaw. You might notice your aging relative rubbing their forefinger and thumb together frequently. Tremor usually starts on one side of the body, then spreads.
- Bradykinesia: People with PD sometimes move more slowly, which makes it take them longer to do things. You might notice that they take shorter steps when they walk or shuffle their feet.
- Posture and Balance Problems: PD can cause people to develop a stooped posture. They may also have trouble with balance.
- Automatic Movement Changes: A person with PD may lose some of their involuntary movements, like blinking, swinging their arms, or smiling.
- Changes in Speech: PD can make your aging relative speak more softly or with slurred speech. They might also speak too fast or pause before they speak. Some people lose the inflection in their voice and sound monotone.
- Changes in Writing: An older adult who has PD may have trouble writing. Their writing may become smaller.
If you notice signs of PD in your loved one, report them to the doctor. Though a PD diagnoses isn’t easy, there are treatments for the disease and ways to continue living a full life. Elder care can assist your aging relative with PD to remain independent longer. An elder care provider can help them when they are walking to ensure they do not fall and get injured. An elder care provider can also assist with household duties, like cleaning and cooking. When the senior starts to have trouble with personal care tasks, like dressing, an elder care provider can help them with these activities as well.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN GARLAND, TX, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE TODAY. CALL (214) 272-2188.