5 Common Warning Signs of Parkinson’s in Seniors

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A neurological disease, Parkinson’s occurs when certain components of the brain become damaged or die. While Parkinson’s symptoms usually don’t manifest until extensive damage to brain neurons has occurred, they can appear early on in the progression of the disease. Here are five common warning signs of Parkinson’s disease in seniors. 

1. Tremors

Parkinson’s disease can cause full body tremors or isolated tremors, such as those of the head, hands, and legs. If your loved one has early-stage Parkinson’s disease, he or she may only exhibit a type of tremor known as pill rolling or experience fine tremors when resting the hands. As the disease progresses, tremors may be more pronounced, progressing to other parts of the body. 

If your loved one’s tremors are severe enough to cause difficulty with the routine activities of daily life, he or she may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

2. Muscle Rigidity

Muscle rigidity can cause severe muscle pain, limited mobility, poor range of motion, and stiffness. Another consequence of Parkinson’s-related muscle rigidity is a condition known as cogwheel rigidity. When cogwheel rigidity affects gait, your loved one may walk with a stop-and-go rhythm. Cogwheel rigidity can also affect the hands, leading to extreme stiffness and immobility. 

Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can live at home, but they may need assistance from family members or other caregivers to do so safely. For many seniors in Anchorage, AK, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

3. Speech Impairments

The voice often changes or becomes weaker as a person ages. While this is considered a normal part of aging, there are other vocal changes that may indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease. For example, changes in the rate of speech may develop. 

If your loved one starts speaking unusually fast or slow, a neurological evaluation may be warranted. Similarly, speaking in a low monotone voice devoid of inflection, slurring words, or having difficulty finding appropriate words may also be warning signs of Parkinson’s. If your loved one develops abnormal speech patterns as a result of Parkinson’s or another neurological disorder, a speech therapist may be able to help. 

4. Postural Changes

While changes in posture aren’t uncommon in older adults, they may be associated with Parkinson’s. If your loved one appears to be hunched over when sitting, standing, or walking or has issues with balance or an unsteady gait, make an appointment with his or her physician. Although these signs can be related to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, they may also be caused by osteoporosis, which causes a hump-like appearance below the back of the neck. Stooping or hunched posture may also be caused by degenerative diseases of the spine such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. 

5. Facial Changes

Diminished facial expressions in elderly people is referred to as hypomimia, and it resembles a mask-like facial expression. This symptom is caused by neurological deficits of the facial muscles, and while it most commonly occurs in those with Parkinson’s, it can also develop in people who take psychotropic drugs, such as antipsychotic medications. In advanced cases, hypomimia can diminish the ability to smile. 

Early diagnosis is critical because Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for senior loved ones 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 Anchorage 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. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (907) 770-0907. 


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