Parkinson’s disease affects about one million people in the United States. The disease is most often characterized by problems with movement, and researchers are beginning to learn more about why this occurs. And because the elderly are far more likely to suffer from Parkinson’s than others, information about the disease and how to improve the lives of those with it is a vital thing for the families of elderly folk with Parkinson’s. Whether you’re a family caregiver, or you anticipate being one in the future, having a loved one with Parkinson’s presents a difficult situation. But it’s not an impossible one.
Recent studies also indicate that the neurological problems associated with the disease are far more complex than originally believed. Parkinson’s involves a difficulty making decisions, and this, when it occurs at a neurological level, can have a profound impact on the movement and control issues that come along with the disease. Getting started walking is one of the most well-known symptoms of the disease, and this happens even when dopamine treatment is well underway. This is accompanied by a shuffle while you walk and a stooped over hunch. Research has found that horizontal lines drawn on the floor for them to step over can actually improve problems walking. If you’re loved one suffers from this, this little tip may be something that you can use to improve their quality of life. Even when verbal instructions were given, test subjects had a lot of difficulty here. All of these patients were in the early stages of the disease and receiving dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is impacted by the disease. The researchers also indicated that the earlier treatments start, the better off patients will be over the long term. This points to the fact that if you suspect that a loved one is having issues that you get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
In other aspects of the study, it was found that Parkinson’s patients had the most difficulty when they had to rely on past information to make current decisions. Think about crossing the street, and timing your crossing to avoid oncoming traffic. This kind of action would be a perfect example of what would set off symptoms in someone with advanced Parkinson’s. However, when this kind of situation is expanded upon, it can lead to an almost crippling chain of events that occur throughout the day. Being able to overcome this is a key part of helping our loved ones that have this disease.
One key takeaway from this bit of info is that the problem isn’t necessarily with walking, but rather with the surroundings and the sensory of them. Being able to act on this kind of data can lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and help your loved one to have an easier time getting through the day. It’s certainly not a permanent fix, but it can help. If there are other things that you find help your elderly loved one, then be sure to pass that information on to your in-home caregiver so that they can help your family in the same manner.