While the physical aspects of Parkinson’s may be clearly evident, this isn’t always the case with non-motor symptoms, which may develop at any point as the condition advances. For this reason, family caregivers should have an idea of what to expect and what can be done to ease some of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. Doing so will help to improve the level of in-home care being provided, while ensuring safety and comfort for the senior with Parkinson’s.
Sleep Disturbances and Fatigue
Fatigue is considered one of the most common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. If medication is ruled out as a cause, caregivers may find that scheduling activities throughout the day, even if it’s just taking time to have regular conversations, may reduce fatigue. If depression is causing sleep disturbances, treating the depression separately should help with the sleep-related problems.
Gastrointestinal problems in patients with Parkinson’s can range from nausea to reflux disease. For more serious digestive disorders, medications often help. Increasing the intake of water and dietary fiber can promote efficient digestion and reduce instances of extreme constipation. Adjusting medications, since some drugs prescribed to treat Parkinson’s symptoms may cause nausea that’s associated with eating, can also help some patients.
Parkinson’s patients often experience problems with vision. If adjustments to medication aren’t effective, an ophthalmologist may be able to fit corrective lenses with prisms to correct diplopia, an eye defect associated with Parkinson’s. Another symptom of Parkinson’s is that some patients may not be able to tell that their bladder is full until the feeling is urgent to the point where accidents occur. This problem may be eased by encouraging patients to take more bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Other non-motor symptoms, such as perceiving it to be hotter or colder than it really is, may be caused by fluctuations in medication levels as certain medications wear off throughout the night until another dosage is administered.
Helping a Senior Loved One with Parkisnon’s
For caregivers, it’s important to be observant and spot changes in the severity of symptoms or the appearance of new symptoms. Keep a journal and write down changes in health, behavior or mood so that you can better identify when specific symptoms occur, and so that you have information to share with your loved one’s doctor.
If you feel overwhelmed by any of your caregiving responsibilities, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to Parkinson’s caregivers, including local support groups, online forums, and home care providers such as Home Care Assistance who provide specialty Parkinson’s home care in Vancouver. To learn more about professional Parkinson’s care services, reach out to a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager at 778-279-3634 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.