According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, around 60,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) each year. It is a progressive disease that impacts the nervous system and the way a person moves. The symptoms start slowly, so slowly that they can be hard to notice at first. Although there is no cure for PD, there are treatments that can help to manage symptoms.
Knowing these 6 symptoms of PD could help in getting your aging relative to get treatment sooner.
Tremor is probably the most recognized symptom of PD. Tremor is shaking in a limb, usually the fingers or hands. It can also look like a pill rolling motion where the older adult rubs the tips of their forefinger (pointer finger) and thumb together as though they are rolling something back and forth between them.
2: Change in Gait
Early on, people with PD may start to walk differently than they used to. They may walk more slowly, their steps may be smaller, or they may shuffle their feet across the floor.
3: Less Ability to Smell
PD can rob older adults of some of their sense of smell. This is called hyposmia or olfactory dysfunction. It happens in up to 90 percent of people with PD. If your older family member has this symptom, they might have trouble discerning different smells or smelling certain things.
4: Handwriting That is Smaller
Handwriting can become smaller and be closer together or cramped. Writing may be more difficult for them to do as well.
5: Decrease in Facial Expressions
PD can decrease your aging relative’s unconscious movements, like facial expressions. As a result, they might appear to be wearing a mask. You may notice that they look angry or sad even when they are not. Seniors with PD may not blink as often as they used to and may not swing their arms when they walk.
6: Dizziness and/or Fainting
Has your elderly relative complained of dizziness when they stand up or fainted? Both of these are signs of low blood pressure, which has been associated with PD.
If your aging relative is diagnosed with PD, home care can make the difference between them staying at home or having to move to a long-term care facility. Home health care providers can assist seniors with everyday tasks, like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Home health care providers can also help with household tasks. Home health care providers can cook, clean, and do laundry.