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Parkinson’s Disease & Dementia Risk

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A significant number of seniors living with Parkinson’s will develop dementia as the disease progresses. Their thinking skills and ability to make sound decisions may decrease, and they’ll require assistance from others. Below you’ll find some of the reasons seniors with Parkinson’s are at higher risk for dementia and what your aging loved one can do to address those issues.

Impact

Parkinson’s causes significant changes in regions of the brain that play vital roles in how seniors move and feel. The disease damages nerve cells deep in the brain, and when dopamine production slows down or stops, the symptoms of Parkinson’s become worse. Your loved one will then have difficulty moving around, and he or she may experience tremors and muscle stiffness.

As the disease continues to affect the neurons, the nerve cells will have difficulty sending messages between the brain and the body. Over time, your loved one will find it challenging to remember familiar people, places, and objects. Your parent may also have difficulty communicating with others and exhibit a lack of emotion.

Cognitive issues can make it difficult for seniors to live at home independently. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Austin, TX, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Early Symptoms

Seniors whose Parkinson’s is diagnosed early have a better chance of controlling the disease, and they can often stave off severe symptoms such as dementia. Most aging adults and their caregivers confuse the warning signs with normal aging and don’t seek help. However, when treatment is administered early, it has a better chance of being effective.

Some of the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease are:

• Gait changes
• Sleeping problems
• Unusual facial expressions
• Slower movement
• Lack of coordination
• Trembling voice
• Poor handwriting 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Austin, TX, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Prevention

Keep in mind that one of the most severe symptoms of Parkinson’s is dementia. Lowering the risk of Parkinson’s can enhance brain function and fine motor skills and stave off neurocognitive conditions such as dementia. One of the best ways to lower the odds of Parkinson’s disease is to follow a healthy diet full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Seniors should also work out at least three times per week and find ways to stay mentally engaged.

Treatment

There are no cures for dementia or Parkinson’s disease, and currently, there are no treatments that can stop the brain cell damage caused by either condition. However, a primary care physician can prescribe medications and suggest healthy lifestyle changes to ease symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. For instance, your loved one’s doctor may prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors that treat cognitive changes, such as sleeping problems, behavioral challenges, and visual hallucinations.

Depression is a serious issue for many seniors living with both Parkinson’s and dementia. To treat depression, doctors often prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These antidepressants could boost your loved one’s self-esteem, reduce negative feelings, and lower the odds of combative behavior.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (512) 623-7800 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.

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