Next to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. This disease results from the dopamine generating cells in the patient’s brain undergoing a massive cell death. While the cause of this cell death is not known, it is obvious that these particular cells are rapidly and dramatically reduced. Over the course of the disease, the patient will exhibit primarily physical symptoms, as opposed to the largely cognitive symptoms exhibited by seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms include tremors, continuous shaking, difficulty walking, rigidity and slowness of movement. During the later stages of the disease, seemingly the opposite of Alzheimer’s disease, patients may experience a variety of cognitive or behavioral issues. Other difficult symptoms of the disease include sensory problems, difficulty sleeping and emotional changes. This disease, also as with Alzheimer’s disease, is most prevalent among seniors, with the vast majority of patients developing the disease after the age of 50.
Diagnosis of the disease can be difficult because there is no laboratory test that can be used to identify the disease. Brain scans, however, are frequently used to eliminate the possibility of other diseases that may manifest in similar symptoms. If Parkinson’s is suspected, the patient may be given a drug known as levodopa. If this medication works to provide relief of the involuntary movements and motor impairment the diagnosis is considered confirmed. This drug works to replace the dopamine in the brain that has been lost due to the rampant cell death. Because even this diagnosis is not necessarily fool-proof, most experts recommend that patients having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease be reviewed periodically to ensure that the disease is progressing in such a way that it can still be considered Parkinson’s. The only true proof of a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis is autopsy of the brain.
In the early stages of the disease, the senior will likely be able to care for himself normally, but as the disease progresses he will need more assistance taking care of his daily needs. When this time comes, home care services can be truly invaluable. An in home care provider offers ongoing care and assistance to seniors coping with Parkinson’s disease so they are able to maintain as much independence as possible and move through the progression of the disease with grace and dignity.
An in home care provider will be present in the home to help seniors cope with the symptoms of the disease, as well as the often-disorienting side effects of the dopamine-replacement drugs prescribed for these patients. Home care providers will help the senior cope with the physical challenges he is facing, as well as the onset of psychological and behavioral concerns as they arise for a more comfortable and productive quality of life.
For more information about home care services in Hazelwood MO, contact Senior Services Unlimited. The caregivers at Senior Services Unlimited can provide quality and affordable home care services for the elderly, disabled, and veterans in the community. call (314) 646-8131