For those living with Parkinson’s disease, maintaining their independence is often a top priority.
If you or your family your family member needs care at home, you are not alone! Home Instead has a variety of services ranging from everyday companionship to specialised services. We can package these in combinations to provide a personalised, cost effective long-term or short-term program. Please contact us for a free, no obligation care consultation.
Contact us for a free, no obligation care consultation
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a motor system disorder that results from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.
The Parkinson Society of Singapore estimates that there are 6,000 to 8,000 Parkinson’s Disease patients in Singapore and the number is expected to increase as the population ages rapidly.
Parkinson’s has 4 main symptoms:
- Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands. Other forms of tremor are possible
- Bradykinesia, which simply means slowness of motion
- Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance problems
There are many other that are shown in the infographic and everyone is a little different.
These symptoms are experienced across 5 stages varying in severity, which are described later in this page.
These symptoms can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. At Home Instead Senior Care, we encourage our CAREGivers to “Do With, Not For” as long as it is safely possible and encourage clients to maintain their independence while preserving their dignity.
Whether identifying potential safety concerns or recommending more nutritious meal choices, our CAREGivers will work side by side with clients and their families to enhance the quality of life and preserve independence.
Parkinson’s Care Preserves Dignity and Enhances Safety
Our highly trained caregivers provide both physical and emotional support including:
- Companionship and Home Helper Services
- Bathing and Grooming Assistance
- Meal Preparation and Nutrition
- Ambulation and Mobility Assistance
- Safety and Fall Prevention
For more information on how a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver can provide assistance to your loved one living with Parkinson’s disease, please contact us.
Contact us for a free, no obligation care consultation
Five Stages of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease (PD) impacts people in different ways. Not everyone will experience all the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and if they do, they won’t necessarily experience them in quite the same order or at the same intensity. There are typical patterns of progression in Parkinson’s disease that are defined in stages.
During this initial stage, the person has mild symptoms that generally do not interfere with daily activities. Tremor and other movement symptoms occur on one side of the body only. Changes in posture, walking and facial expressions occur.
Symptoms start getting worse. Tremor, rigidity and other movement symptoms affect both sides of the body. Walking problems and poor posture may be apparent. The person is still able to live alone, but daily tasks are more difficult and lengthy.
Considered mid-stage, loss of balance and slowness of movements are hallmarks. Falls are more common. The person is still fully independent, but symptoms significantly impair activities such as dressing and eating.
At this point, symptoms are severe and limiting. It’s possible to stand without assistance, but movement may require a walker. The person needs help with activities of daily living and is unable to live alone.
This is the most advanced and debilitating stage. Stiffness in the legs may make it impossible to stand or walk. The person requires a wheelchair or is bedridden. Around-the-clock nursing care is required for all activities. The person may experience hallucinations and delusions. The Parkinson’s community acknowledges that there are many important non-motor symptoms as well as motor symptoms.
Your doctor may refer to a scale to help them understand the progression of the disease. Parkinson’s stages correspond both to the severity of movement symptoms and to how much the disease affects a person’s daily activities. The most commonly used rating scales focus on motor symptoms. They are the:
- Hoehn and Yahr stages follow a simple rating scale, first introduced in 1967. Clinicians use it to describe how motor symptoms progress in PD. H&Y Rates symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. On this scale, 1 and 2 represent early-stage, 2 and 3 mid-stage, and 4 and 5 advanced-stage Parkinson’s.
- The Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) is a more comprehensive tool used to account for non-motor symptoms, including mental functioning, mood and social interaction. UPDRS Accounts for cognitive difficulties, ability to carry out daily activities and treatment complications.
Living with Parkinson’s
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, a person’s motor skills are impacted resulting in a variety of symptoms including tremors, stiffness, and problems with balance.
There are some actions you can take to manage the condition. Here are a few and more Details can be found at https://www.parkinson.org/Living-with-Parkinsons/Managing-Parkinsons:
Diet & Nutrition
The choices you make about food – what you eat, how much and when – impact your health and comfort.
- Avoid “fad” diets. Eat food from all food groups, following guidelines of the S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate program. Eating a variety of foods will help you get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for good health.
- Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates and can help you lower your intake of fat.
- Limit sugar intake. A diet with lots of sugar can have too many calories and too few nutrients. It can also contribute to tooth decay.
- Reduce salt and sodium intake to help decrease your risk of high blood pressure.
- Incorporate foods high in antioxidants (which are important for overall brain health) into your diet. These include brightly colored and dark fruits and vegetables.
- Balance the food you eat with physical activity.
- Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer and to help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and common types of diabetes. Your doctor can help you determine what a healthy weight means for you.
- Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, as they have empty calories and few (or no) nutrients. Drinking alcohol can cause many health problems and accidents. It may not be advisable to mix certain medication with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
Emotional strength is vital to physical health. Learn ways to successfully navigate the many feelings associated with a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
Just as the right diet and medications are key to living well with Parkinson’s disease (PD), maintaining emotional health is essential to your physical health. A person diagnosed with Parkinson’s often feels a flood of emotions, as do their loved ones.
Accepting and successfully navigating those feelings, whether anger, sadness, grief or even denial, is important. Stress can make PD symptoms worse. By focusing on your strengths, nurturing caring relationships, sharing your concerns, embracing healthy behaviours and your spirituality, you can better cope with the potential challenges of PD.
Working Through Feelings: PD symptoms and treatments can affect your mood. Depression and anxiety affect up to 50 percent of people living with PD. These mood changes can bring on worsening function, leading to a decreased quality of life. Tending to your emotional health keeps this cycle at bay. Tell your doctor, who can recommend the right medical treatments. But also consider counseling, for you, and your loved ones if necessary, and a local or online PD support group.
Embracing Hope: Taking a deep look at the positive aspects of your life and nurturing them so that they grow, can change your emotional outlook. Embracing these positives — family, friends or a new or favourite hobby — can offer respite when things are difficult. Trust yourself to handle any challenges that a PD diagnosis may bring. Reflecting on past trials you may have weathered can give you confidence in your capability to withstand any future tests.
Build a Network: Do not underestimate the impact of a strong support network. It is important to share your feelings and needs. Family, friends and neighbours often want to help, but may need your direction. The bigger your aid network, the better. Having people and groups to emotionally support you and those who can help with basic needs, such as transportation or meal preparation, prevents any one person from taking on too many responsibilities and becoming overwhelmed.
Diet & Exercise: Healthy behaviours, including attention to diet, meal planning and regular moderate exercise also can improve emotional well-being. The foods you eat and when you eat them, can impact how you feel. Having a meal plan in place can reduce worry and ensure healthy eating. Regular exercise, including yoga, Tai Chi| An ancient Chinese martial art and exercise characterized by gentle, flowing movement couple with breathing. Has been shown to improve symptoms of PD.] and boxing, can improve PD symptoms and mental health.
Spirituality: Focusing on the deeper meaning of your life and embracing faith or moral-based core values can offer comfort. Placing your trust in a divine power or the belief in a greater outside influence or plan, may ease the acceptance of things you cannot control and free your mental energy to focus on the things you can. Spirituality means something different for everyone. Though it sometimes includes religion, it doesn’t have to. Prayer, meditation and acts of service, such as volunteering, are some ways people with PD find strength, inner peace, happiness and a deeper connection to the divine or their community.
Taking control of the things that you can: will help you minimize stress. Simplify your daily schedule. Set short-term goals. Plan nutritious meals in advance. Focus on what you can do and ask for help where you need it. Be open and honest about what you are going through, rather than isolating yourself.
Daily Living Activities
There are many ways to maintain a good quality of life when living with Parkinson’s. These tips about getting dressed, driving, traveling and more can help.
Sometimes Parkinson’s disease (PD) can complicate the basic daily activities a person with living with Parkinson’s once did easily, like bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping and even walking. It can be hard to adjust to these changes, but there are ways to improve safety while supporting a good quality of life. Review these pages for tips to ease:
- Home Safety
- Bathing & Grooming
- Getting Dressed
- Going Out to Dinner
Also consider talking to an occupational therapist (OT), who can help simplify home safety and independence by suggesting daily living modifications or adaptations. Home Instead or your doctor can give you a referral.
Remember, you are not alone.
Professional, caring help. All in the security and comfort of home. For Us it’s Personal – We’re here to help.