Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive condition where part of the brain deteriorates over time. PD primarily affects muscle control, movement, balance and mental focus. While there’s a lot to be learned about this challenging disease, it is still possible to maintain and improve your quality of life.
A Day in the Life of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease
Because of the way PD develops, every individual can experience symptoms differently, impacting their ability to engage in daily tasks. It can take time to adjust to these changes, but lifestyle modifications are possible to continue doing your favorite activities.
Getting Ready in the Morning
Dressing and bathing can become more difficult with stiff limbs or tremors. Someone with PD can take these tasks slowly and cautiously, as rushing can become frustrating. Sitting down while dressing or bathing can also make the process easier.
Moving Around During the Day
As mentioned, PD is often known for affecting someone’s mobility, causing them to walk with a shuffle and experience unchanging stiffness. Keep your body active as much as you can while still staying safe. This could include walking with family or friends, getting up and walking around your home multiple times throughout the day or attending community activities.
Further assistance may be needed to get around in the future, such as a wheelchair, walker or cane. These assistive devices can keep you on your feet and moving as the disease progresses.
Preparing Meals and Eating
Someone with early PD can still prepare their meals at home, but the process may take some rearranging. Move all commonly used items to a height that is easy to reach, like on the countertop or the middle shelf of the refrigerator. Several tools are available to help meal preparation go smoothly.
For eating, it may be challenging to grasp and balance utensils. Consider investing in quality weighted utensils with built-up handles. A plate guard could also help someone scoop food onto a spoon or fork.
General Safety in the Home
Some renovations may need to be done around the house to ensure it is safe and comfortable for someone with PD. The following changes can be made to reduce the risks of accidents or falls:
- Sliding doors
- Open floor plan
- Wide hallways
- Slip-resistant floors
Parkinson’s Disease Progression
As a progressive disease, PD happens in fluid stages, exhibiting various symptoms.
- Stage one: Mild symptoms do not interfere with daily activities. Slight tremors and movement symptoms only occur on one side of the body.
- Stage two: Tremors and rigidity worsen and affect both sides of the body. Living alone is possible but becomes more difficult.
- Stage three: Falls are more frequent and motor symptoms worsen, although the person is physically capable of living independently.
- Stage four: Symptoms are fully developed and may require ambulating with a cane or walker. While the person can still walk and stand independently, they need significant help with activities and cannot safely live alone.
- Stage five: The most advanced stage where stiffness may make walking difficult. A wheelchair is the most likely mode of transportation, and around-the-clock care is required.
Practicing Self-Care With Parkinson’s Disease
While traditional treatments for PD include medications and physical therapy, here are some ways to practice self-care and be kind to your mind:
- Embrace hope by staying positive and focusing only on what you can control.
- Consider individual counseling or joining a PD support group to work through your feelings.
- Build a network of family and friends who can support you.
- Take care of your body through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Free PD Resources at Redstone
For more information on living a full life with Parkinson’s disease, check out our available programs at Redstone.