Parkinson’s is a complex progressive condition. Seniors with Parkinson’s retain their mental acuity and emotional sense far longer while losing physical control of their bodies. The physical degeneration of Parkinson’s progresses at a different rate than the cognitive progression resulting in a difficult imbalance between physical and mental capabilities. Parkinson’s requires a comprehensive caregiving plan that incorporates the essential need for speech, occupational, and physio therapies.
The table below reviews the stages and symptoms of Parkinson’s to understand how the condition progresses and impacts physical and cognitive abilities at differing rates of deterioration.
Symptoms & Stages of Parkinson’s
|Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Stiffness in limbsHeaviness in limbsFine motor skills become more challengingSlightly stooped postureFacial expressions/ movement limitedTremors on only one side of body||Trouble with balance and coordinationFine motor skills are very limited. Ex., tying shoelaces is no longer possibleGait is modified with shuffling instead of walkingRigidity in limbs intensifies||Trouble swallowingFalls are more likelyAble to stand independently but walking/ changing directions while is a challengeSlow movementSpeech and writing are compromised||Limited to bed or wheelchairRequire full-time carePosture and limbs are affected by rigidity Unable to perform daily tasks independently Difficulty communicating|
|Initial / Mild Symptoms that usually don’t limit daily tasks, and are mostly manageable with medications||Moderate symptoms that begin impacting activities in everyday life. Effects of medications wear off between doses, and require constant management||Progressive, uncontrollable worsening of previous symptoms, frustrating the patient and challenging their patience||Severe symptoms with serious lifestyle changes. Medication is not as effective|
Occupational therapy is used to help people relearn daily life skills such as eating independently, being able to dress themselves, completing personal grooming tasks like brushing teeth or being able to bathe themselves, as well as things like writing or using their phone. As the table above explains, early stages of Parkinson’s symptoms are physical changes like rigidity in the muscles or stiffness in the limbs. This can make tasks like eating, dressing, and writing very challenging to continue to do independently. And because Parkinson’s is a progressive condition, the early symptoms only tend to become more difficult to manage as the condition progresses.
Occupational therapy cannot reverse the physical changes that occur with Parkinson’s, but it can help with relearning how to perform daily tasks in a way that maintains a degree of independence. For example, if eating with a fork is difficult, an occupational therapist can work with a Parkinson’s patient to learn to eat entire meals with a spoon because it’s more manageable. Same with things like writing – maybe a different type of pen or an adapted method of holding the pen will allow the Parkinson’s patient to manage those activities for some time.
Physiotherapy is managing the physical changes due to Parkinson’s. The focus of physiotherapy is on identifying areas of the body that have limited mobility or functionality, and utilizing stretches and exercises to loosen and strengthen those muscles. This is essential in addressing the muscular rigidity that occurs in Parkinson’s.
Again, physiotherapy cannot undo any of the changes caused by Parkinson’s, but a consistent schedule can help reduce the impact of physical changes. It also helps to improve balance and coordination which can reduce fall risks.
Ultimately, physiotherapy can help maintain a sense of normalcy for as long as possible by helping to manage the physical symptoms of Parkinsons.
Speech therapy addresses the issue of late-stage Parkinson’s where rigidity increases and makes talking or communicating challenging. Speech therapy can help diversify communication skills by introducing basic signs to help Parkinson’s patients communicate their needs to their caregivers. Speech therapists can also help learn how to navigate new technologies and tools to help communicate as well. Again, creating a sense of independence and fostering dignity in being able to navigate these physical changes in a proactive way.
Like occupational and physiotherapy, speech therapy helps patients with Parkinson’s maintain a sense of dignity and agency as they are given the tools to communicate and function in their daily life on their terms.
Parkinson’s impacts the physical, mental, and social abilities of your loved ones. In-home care by an experienced caregiver to help mitigate stress, and provide quality care is an effective approach for a Parkinson’s patient.
A well prepared and aligned team of professional caregivers will significantly ease you and your loved-ones life with reliable in-home care. An experienced caregiver has the patience, multi-faceted expertise, and knowledge to support their patients needs from daily care to overseeing speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
When you work with Care Mountain to manage your in-home care needs, our commitment is to ensure high quality care with a personalized care plan for your loved one.
Our quality caregivers undergo national background checks, extensive reference checks, and in-person interviews to ensure that they can provide the expert and personalized care necessary for a successful live-in care plan.
With over 17 years of experience providing live-in and in-home care including high quality home care and specialized caregivers to families across Dallas and Ft. Worth and ranging from Arlington, Southlake, Preston Hollow, Highland Park, Plano, McKinney, Allen and Friso – Care Mountain is well-versed in understanding the nuances and specifics of every family needing caregivers to support their loved ones.