Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease is the most common type people are diagnosed with. With this diagnosis, seniors can expect the health condition to progress through the usual five stages, but it’s important to remember that how fast this process occurs is different for everyone. Though Parkinson’s disease isn’t fatal on its own, it does cause symptoms that increase the risk of a fatality. Knowing how the disease impacts longevity can help you make plans to keep your senior loved one healthy for as long as possible.
Consider the Age at Diagnosis
The average age of diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease is around 60, but people under this age can develop the condition as well. Since most people are diagnosed when they’re older, it’s difficult to tell if their life expectancy is shortened due to Parkinson’s. Ideally, the disease should be caught as early as possible to help your loved one take advantage of treatments that can slow the progression. However, being diagnosed later in life also could mean your loved one’s longevity is influenced by other conditions.
Understand the Effects of Other Health Conditions
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease tend to come and go in the early stages. On some days, your loved one may feel perfectly fine until a flare-up causes symptoms such as tremors and muscle freezing. One way to slow the progression of the disease is to take care of other health conditions that create similar symptoms or cause the ones associated with Parkinson’s to get worse. For example, controlling diabetes keeps blood circulating properly through the body, which can help with shakiness and muscle weakness. In the later stages, handling oral health issues, such as poorly fitting dentures, can make it easier to swallow food.
An in-home caregiver can be a fantastic asset for a senior with Parkinson’s. When considering elderly home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
Find Ways to Minimize Accident Risks
Most fatalities associated with Parkinson’s disease occur when a person’s symptoms contribute to an accident. For instance, your loved one may need to stop driving once his or her legs begin to stiffen up without warning. Your loved one may also experience falls because of the same symptoms, especially if he or she tries to do too much around the house alone. Giving your loved one options, such as professional transportation services and help with housekeeping, can reduce the risk of a preventable accident.
Mobility limitations and other safety issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for aging adults increasingly challenging. 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. Montgomery, AL, 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.
Plan for the Long Run
On average, people with Parkinson’s disease live 16 to 20 years after diagnosis. When you think about it, your loved one may live well into his or her 80s or longer with Parkinson’s disease. Planning for long-term care in the earliest stages after the diagnosis gives you time to make decisions about who will help your loved one with things such as eating and moving around the house as he or she ages.
Professional caregivers can be a wonderful source of support for seniors with Parkinson’s who need help with transportation, exercising safely, and completing daily tasks. Families looking for top-rated Montgomery in-home care 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. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988 to schedule a free in-home consultation.