Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition that results in both physical and cognitive changes. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, however early intervention can help delay the onset of the disease. While the early symptoms of Parkinson’s can be somewhat difficult to detect, families of senior adults should be aware of the most common warning signs so that any unusual changes can be noted and brought to the attention of a health care professional as soon as possible. The following are the five most common indicators of Parkinson’s, presented by Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee:
- Changes in Handwriting – Because Parkinson’s affects a person’s fine motor skills, those in the early stages may exhibit changes in handwriting. Words will often become smaller and letters will be “crowded” together. This change often occurs gradually, and will become more apparent overtime.
- Joint Pain and Stiffness – Although joint pain and stiffness are expected with age –especially with the prevalence of age-related conditions such as arthritis – joint pain and stiffness should not be constant. Persistent stiffness or difficulty moving affected extremities is closely related to PD and is most apparent in the hips and shoulders.
- Inability to Smell – Some of the senses decrease with age, but severe loss of smell in an aging loved one can indicate Parkinson’s. Those that suffer from Parkinson’s may seem to lose the ability to smell overnight. Indications that a loved one may no longer be able to smell include a disinterest in once favorite foods or a decrease in personal hygiene.
- Changes in Voice Quality – Changes in voice is often specific to PD. Your loved one may start to speak in lower tones, to the point where others may not be able to hear what is being said. Sometimes this change in voice mimics the voice of someone with a cold and has a hoarse or whispering quality to it.
- Shakiness and Tremors – Shaking and tremors are some of the more easy to identify warning signs of PD. Initially, it may start out as an involuntary jerk of the leg, arm or hand. Over time, the shakiness and tremors will become worse for the senior, especially when the senior is at rest.
If you believe your loved one may be exhibiting signs of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to run the appropriate tests and help determine the best way to move forward.
For families of seniors who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, know that you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee is here to help. Offering specialty Parkinson’s home care in Milwaukee, seniors are able to enjoy the comfort of their home while receiving tailored one-to-one care throughout each stage of the disease. For more information, call 414-964-8000 and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Care Managers – we’re available 24/7.