Parkinson’s disease is a manageable condition that, in Australia, affects about one in every 100 people over the age of sixty. It’s a condition that affects movement and it is also degenerative, which means that it tends to get worse overtime. It may start with a small, almost unnoticeable tremor in your hand and lead to a variety of symptoms related to how you move.
Given the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in older Australians, understanding the causes, symptoms and the support you can provide – and how in-home care can help – is important.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is a neurological disease that impacts the way our nervous system works. In the brain there are cells that produce dopamine, which is a chemical messenger responsible for coordinating movement. When these nerves deteriorate they stop producing dopamine and this affects the way the brain functions, leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease like irregular, slow or rigid movements.
What causes Parkinson’s disease?
There is no confirmed cause of Parkinson’s disease and research is ongoing, but some proposed causes of the disease include:
- Genetics: while they are not common, there are certain genes that cause Parkinson’s disease and these are, in rare cases, hereditary.
- Environmental factors: exposure to toxins and certain chemicals may lead to Parkinson’s disease.
- Age: Parkinson’s disease is most common in people over the age of 60.
- Injury: some research suggests that head trauma may lead to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease affects the way you move. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease affect each person differently, and your experience will be individual to you. If you have Parkinson’s disease, you may experience one or all of the symptoms and they may or may not get worse over time.
The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
- Slower movements (also called bradykinesia)
- Difficulty with balance
- Stiff, or rigid, muscles
- Poor posture
- A change in the way you walk, a shuffling step
How can Focused Healthcare help
While Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, the symptoms can be managed with the right support team. At Focused Healthcare we provide in-home care tailored to your unique circumstances and needs. Our support workers and nurses understand how to provide thoughtful and tailored care to support people with Parkinson’s disease.
Here’s some of the ways we can help:
Exercise is essential for managing Parkinson’s symptoms and your physio will provide you with an exercise plan to follow. Our in-home care team can support you with this plan, help you stay motivated and do your exercises daily, in the comfort of your own home.
If your movement is changing it is likely that it is getting trickier to do daily tasks. You may find that you need support with getting ready in the morning, washing your hair or even making a cup of tea. Our in-home care team can support you with these daily tasks.
We can also provide support managing and tracking your daily medication.
Help around the home
We’ll help with daily chores like cleaning, and larger tasks like mowing the lawn or caring for pets. We can also plan and prepare meals for you.
As your mobility changes, you may find it useful to have someone help you get to and from appointments, or to help you get out and socialise.
We will take the time to understand your unique support needs, and work with your care team – your family and other healthcare providers – to ensure you get the care you need. Get in touch today.