The Characteristics Of Parkinson’s Disease & How To Navigate Resources

Characteristics of Parkinson’s Disease & Resources

What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Every year in the United States, an average of 60,000 people are affected by Parkinson’s Disease. Defined as a chronic and progressive brain disorder, nearly 1 million Americans and 10 million worldwide are living with this disease. While unfortunately, there is no cure currently for Parkinson’s Disease, proactively educating yourself and your loved one on the signs that may indicate a diagnosis could prove to be crucial. If Parkinson’s Disease is diagnosed, there are resources available that may make all the difference to improve the quality of life of the individual affected.  

At Wesley Ridge, we provide care for seniors & older adults with Parkinson’s Disease and have qualified associates trained to know the signs as our residents age. We looked to them and some industry professionals to provide insight on what may indicate the potential for Parkinson’s Disease and what community resources are available. 

Early Signs That Could Indicate Parkinson’s Disease Potential (Motor vs Non-Motor)

There are a variety of characteristics or signs that could be clear indicators for the potential of Parkinson’s Disease in older adults. It’s important to note that symptoms vary from person to person and slowly develop over time. 

Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

It is quite common for the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease to affect an individual’s motor skills. Keeping a sharp eye out for any of the below changes in your or your loved one’s daily activity will be important should you be questioning the potential for Parkinson’s. 

  • Tremors or trembling of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Stiffness in the arms or legs
  • Slowness of movement
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Speech difficulty 
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Masked Face

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Although some of the most common Parkinson’s symptoms express themselves as affecting an individual’s motor skills, there are many non-motor symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. Some of these include the below. 

  • Mood
    • Depression, anxiety, lack of interest.
  • Cognition
    • Trouble paying attention, slowed thinking, inability to remember names.
  • Other non-motor symptoms
    • Soft speech, fatigue, constipation, or hallucinations.

The signs of Parkinson’s Disease are a good indicator that medical attention and an official diagnosis should be explored. A neurologist who is also a movement disorder specialist would be the best type of physician to not only diagnose you or a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease but also set you up with a treatment plan focused on improving quality of life. 

Resources for People Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

There are a variety of resources available to provide support for individuals and their loved ones on their journey through Parkinson’s Disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers many in-person and virtual opportunities for education, grow, and community. 

Newly Diagnosed Kit

A Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis is an emotional and difficult situation to go through. Knowing that there is guidance available to help you through this new stage of life may bring some peace of mind. The Parkinson’s Foundation’s Newly Diagnosed Kit offers ways to help you start living well on your new journey. It offers valuable information to reassure you and your loved ones that you are not alone.

Toll-Free Helpline

The Parkinson’s Foundation’s toll-free helpline is a useful resource for any questions or concerns that need attention. The hotline is staff by qualified professionals such as nurses, health educators and social workers to support you in any way possible. 

Exercise Resources

Exercising with Parkinson’s Disease is important to keep and improve one’s strength. The Parkinson’s Foundation also provides some detailed exercise tips and recommendations for a healthy you including a Fitness Counts Book and an Exercise Recommendations Infographic. 

Parkinson’s Disease Resources For The Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease is a selfless and admirable responsibility. At times though, this responsibility can become a major stressor for caregivers. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers a variety of helpful resources to let caregivers know they are not alone.

Care Partner Courses

The Parkinson’s Foundation offers self-guided online courses to help guide you as you take on the role of caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease

Caring and Coping Book

Filled with tools and insight for how to make the most of your caregiver role, the caring and coping book will help you be progressive on your journey while also limiting your stress. 

Moving Onward and Proactively Planning 

The journey through Parkinson’s Disease can be stressful and often sad, but it doesn’t have to be. By knowing the signs early on and by taking advantage of the resources available, you and your loved ones can progress forward with the guidance, support, and tools needed to conquer the mountain, together. We’re always available at Wesley Ridge to further discuss your options after a Parkinson’s Diagnosis and to share our local resources. Contact us today