The Kensington Reston is proud to present the second segment of our three-part event series on caregiving, “The Ebbs & Flows of Caregiving: A Resource Series with Insight Memory Care Center.”
This upcoming segment will center on a critical and growing neurological concern: Parkinson’s Disease.
Our special guest for this session is Melissa Long, the Director of Education and Support at Insight Memory Care Center. Melissa’s career spans over 17 years, providing care to older adults and aiding in their journey through dementia.
We cordially invite you to join us at our Reston, VA community with Melissa Long on August 23 at 6 p.m. EDT to answer your top questions about Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms—answering your top questions
In our upcoming session, we will shed light on the basic science behind Parkinson’s, and provide insights into typical and atypical symptoms.
Discussion topics will address some of the most common questions surrounding Parkinson’s such as the following.
What are the typical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s affects the body’s motor system, causing the tell-tale symptoms of the disease such as:
- Tremors in the hands and fingers
- Bradykinesia (the slowness of movement)
- Muscle rigidity
- Postural instability
- Speech changes
- Gait disturbances
Other symptoms include reduced facial expressions, muscle freezes, speech changes, and difficulty initiating movements, particularly later in the disease.
What are the atypical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s can present atypical or non-motor symptoms, including:
- Memory difficulties
- Slow thinking
- Mood changes such as depression or anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of smell
- Changes in blood pressure
How does Parkinson’s disease progress?
Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressing condition that’s highly variable in each individual and lasts many years after diagnosis. On average, the disease can last around 10-20 years.
What are the stages of Parkinson’s disease?
There are five recognized stages of Parkinson’s, with each duration of the stage varying widely depending on the individual.
- Stage 1: Mild symptoms, typically on one side of the body that may last for years.
- Stage 2: Moderate symptoms on both sides of the body and balance issues. May last for several years.
- Stage 3: Significant slowing of movements, impaired balance, and coordination. May last for several years.
- Stage 4: Severe symptoms, and daily need of assistance. Can last several years.
- Stage 5: Loss of physical independence, 24/7 care required, and can last for a few months to a few years.
What is the connection between Parkinson’s disease and dementia?
About 40% of people with Parkinson’s will develop a special type of dementia called Parkinson’s disease dementia, usually in the later stages.
This dementia can cause problems with memory, attention, and decision-making. Visual hallucinations and mood disorders are also common.
The development of dementia in loved ones can significantly impact their quality of life and caregiving needs.
What are the current treatment options for Parkinson’s disease?
Current treatment options include a combination of medication to manage symptoms, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery.
Medications, such as Levodopa, can help manage problems with walking, movement, and tremors by increasing dopamine in the brain.
Physical rehabilitation therapy and occupational therapy can improve mobility and balance.
In some cases, a surgical option such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be considered, which implants electrodes into the brain to control abnormal brain activity.
Exploring how to care for the different stages of Parkinson’s disease
Each stage of the disease will require a different care strategy. It will help caregivers to understand how the disease progresses to tailor the care for their loved ones.
Stage 1: Caregivers should encourage independence while supporting with subtle changes, such as helping loved ones adapt to hand tremors during eating or writing.
Stage 2: Caregivers must assist with daily tasks, ensure safety around the house to remove fall risk, and encourage social interactions to combat potential mood changes.
At this phase, adult care services such as The Kensington Club, can provide respite for caregivers and provide therapeutic activities for their loved ones.
Stage 3: Your loved one’s home will likely need to be reorganized for safer navigation. Consider adding support rails throughout the house, including the shower. Physical therapy should be considered at this stage.
Stage 4: Caregivers will need to step up to provide more substantial help with daily tasks, including help with walking.
In this stage, the need for 24-hour assistance increases. The Kensington Reston’s
Connections memory care neighborhood can offer progressional help and supervision, including personalized cognitive therapies.
Stage 5: At this point, full-time assistance is required for all activities, including medication administration and emotional support. Loved ones should be relocated to the Haven memory care neighborhood at The Kensington Reston for individuals with moderate-to-late Parkinson’s and memory loss.
Take the next steps of Parkinson’s care with The Kensington Reston
Handling the ebbs and flows of caregiving for somebody with Parkinson’s is challenging, but The Kensington Reston is here to support you every step of the way.
We offer three levels of exceptional memory care for individuals with dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurological disorders:
- The Kensington Club, our day program for new and current residents that offers respite for caregivers
- Connections, for those with early to moderate memory loss. Connections provides a fully-secured environment to maximize safety, in an intimate, elegant, yet comfortable living space that fosters calm and comfort.
- Haven, for individuals with moderate to severe memory loss. Residents in this neighborhood receive a higher level of assistance and care. Our goal is to maximize comfort, minimize agitation, and soothe compassionately.
This neighborhood is cozy, serene, and safe for residents to walk independently if they can. Our goal is to make this space feel like home. It also includes a family room with a piano, a tranquility room, a dedicated activities and music space, and a private, secure patio overlooking the Reston golf course and community courtyard.
Take solace in the fact that Our Promise—to love and care for your family as we do our own—drives us in everything we do.
We welcome you to contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour of our lovely community.