Parkinson’s disease can be particularly difficult for family caregivers and older adults because it varies from one person to the next, making it unpredictable. This can make it hard to plan for future care or know what to do for symptoms from one day to the next. Although everyone’s experience is different, experts have identified general stages of the disease. Knowing them may help you to make plans for your older family member’s future.
How Many Stages Are There?
To add to the confusion of how Parkinson’s disease progresses, how many stages there are depends on which expert you ask. For example, according to WebMD, there are three stages: mild, moderate, and advanced. The Parkinson’s Foundation uses a five-stage model. Your older family member’s doctor may use a different number of stages still.
For the purpose of this article, we will describe the five stages followed by the Parkinson’s Foundation.
What Are the Stages?
The five stages of Parkinson’s disease as defined by the Parkinson’s Foundation are:
- Stage One: The symptoms during this stage are quite mild. They may be noticeable, but they don’t usually interfere with the older adult’s ability to do their normal daily activities. Symptoms usually occur on just one side of the body. You may notice the senior’s posture or way they walk has changed. There could also be a difference in their facial expressions.
- Stage Two: Symptoms are worse and impact both sides of the body. The senior may have tremors, rigid muscles, difficulty walking, and posture changes. Although the older adult can still live alone during this stage, it will take them longer to do daily activities.
- Stage Three: This is the mid-stage of the disease. It is usually identified by a loss of balance and slowed movements. Older adults may fall more often than in the past. Though the older adult might still be completely independent, they will have significant trouble with certain activities, including eating and dressing.
- Stage Four: The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are severe enough at this point that the older adult may need help to stand up and will need to use a walker for mobility. Your aging relative will be unable to live alone because they will need assistance with daily activities.
- Stage Five: At this stage, the older adult will rely on a wheelchair because they will be unable to stand or walk. They could even be bedridden. Some people have hallucinations and delusions during this stage. They will need round-the-clock care.
Knowing these stages can make it easier for family caregivers and older adults to decide when it is time to involve senior care. While some families choose to wait until stage three when the older adult needs more help, others involve senior care earlier. Hiring a senior care provider through an agency during the earlier stages allows the older adult to spend more of their time doing the things they enjoy rather than struggling to do daily activities.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering home care in Philadelphia, PA please contact the caring staff at Correct Choice Home Care today at (267) 323-1700.