Continue reading to learn more about Parkinson’s disease, including how memory care can help.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder where the muscles become tight, making it difficult to walk or complete other tasks. This disease can also cause someone to have tremors and future cognitive troubles, like memory loss.
Parkinson’s typically develops in your 50s to 60s, and your risk increases with age. You develop Parkinson’s when your brain produces less dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter. Low dopamine makes it harder for the brain to coordinate your muscles.
When someone develops Parkinson’s, they may experience several symptoms, including:
- Tremors affecting the face, jaw, arms, & hands
- Slower & stiff walking
- Difficulty balancing
- Coordination problems
- Stiffness in the arms, legs, & torso
- Changes in how you write
These symptoms can worsen with time as this disease progresses. You may also experience depression, gastrointestinal issues, difficulty eating, memory loss, and dementia.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia?
Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) is a form of dementia that develops in people living with Parkinson’s disease for at least one year. Cognitive difficulties don’t start when someone has Parkinson’s right away, but they can occur as this disease progresses. Someone with PDD may experience memory loss, difficulty paying attention, trouble with good judgment, and struggles with following directions.
Around 2% of adults over 65 have Parkinson’s disease, with over one million Americans living with this condition.
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease Dementia?
PDD is a natural progression after someone develops Parkinson’s disease. The average time for PDD to develop is 10 years after the beginning of Parkinson’s. Previous research found that approximately 75% of people living with Parkinson’s for 10 years or more develop dementia.
Milder cognitive changes happen before dementia develops, with around 30% of people with Parkinson’s developing mild cognitive impairment after 5 years.
Someone’s age, the severity of movement difficulties, and the presence of mild cognitive impairment can increase the risk of PDD.
When someone develops Parkinson’s disease dementia, they may experience several symptoms, including:
- Difficulty with memory, concentration, & judgment
- Problems understanding visual information
- Muffled speech
- Delusions or paranoid thoughts
- Depression, irritation, or anxiety
- Trouble with sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness
Adjusting to Parkinson’s Disease
A Parkinson’s disease diagnosis can be a significant emotional event, leading to many different feelings. While there are treatments available, there is no cure for this disease.
If your loved one has Parkinson’s, you can help them in several ways:
- Let them adjust, however long it takes: It may take a while for your loved one to come to terms with their diagnosis. Don’t expect them to feel fine after a short period—they may feel stressed or overwhelmed. Be patient & help them as much as possible.
- Learn what you can about Parkinson’s: Educating yourself can help you care for your loved one. You can help them feel more in control when you know what’s happening regarding their condition.
- Be there for them: Don’t let your loved one handle this situation alone. Being there for them can make adjusting to Parkinson’s disease easier. You can help them manage their symptoms & future progression.
- Help them make healthy choices: Lifestyle changes can improve Parkinson’s symptoms & you can help your loved one make these changes. Living healthy can help delay the development of dementia.
While you can help your loved one as they experience Parkinson’s, they may need more support as this disease progresses. When they need help, memory care can provide them with the daily support they need.
How Memory Care Can Help If Someone Has Parkinson’s Disease
Memory care can help if your loved one has Parkinson’s. Residents in memory care live in a specially designed community fit for their needs, with wide hallways, easy-to-navigate areas, and safety supports to prevent falls and other hazards. Memory care focuses on each individual’s unique needs.
Your loved one receives a customized care plan that provides support. Because Parkinson’s disease and dementia progress with time, these care plans are adaptable to meet their changing needs. If your loved one begins to develop PDD, their needs can still be taken care of without them having to move.
Besides personalized care, memory care communities offer many services to help care for your loved one’s condition, including:
- Engagement activities for positive cognitive support
- Brain-stimulating activities
- Strengthening activities for walking & balance
- Non-pharmaceutical treatments
- Medication management
- 24-hour available support staff
Learn More About Memory Care
Parkinson’s disease can significantly affect your loved one’s ability to care for themselves, especially if they develop Parkinson’s disease dementia. While you can help support them as their condition progresses, memory care is available when they need more consistent care. Learn more about memory care, and you can help care for your loved one’s needs.
Contact your local community about memory care—they can address any questions or concerns you may have.