Assisted Living Can Help Parkinson’s Disease

parkinsonEvery year between 50,000 and 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). It can strike at a fairly young age. While most people are over the age of 50 when they are diagnosed, others are as young as 30.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that results when the body stops producing enough dopamine. It is the chemical required to keep the messages between the brain and the body flowing back and forth. These relayed signals are needed to coordinate smooth muscle movements throughout the body. When the body fails to produce the dopamine that is needed, it causes speech problems, stiffened muscles, walking complications, hand tremors, and more. While not usually fatal, these symptoms make it difficult for those living with the disease to safely care for themselves. Many must rely on family and friends for assistance with activities of daily living.

For family caregivers, supporting a loved one with Parkinson’s can be especially challenging. Their children are likely to be younger than those of caregivers who support a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other chronic health conditions. Many caregivers are working full-time and not close to the retirement age. Juggling all of these responsibilities can lead to caregiver burnout.

Assisted Living Can Help People with Parkinson’s Disease

Caregivers often find an assisted living community to be the best of both worlds. Their loved one can have their own private apartment while still having the benefit of caregivers nearby. The environment itself is designed to support success for those with physical impairments.

Family caregivers can use an assisted living community for short-term respite care in the earlier stages of the disease, and then for a permanent solution when the disease progresses. Because Parkinson’s often causes dementia in its final stages, finding a senior living community with a memory care program also can be advantageous. If the need for a more secure environment arises, the person living with PD can make a safe transition while still remaining in a more familiar environment.

The support an assisted living community can offer to someone with Parkinson’s disease includes: 

  • Nutritionally balanced meals served dining style. Most communities also offer the option of meals delivered to their room if they aren’t feeling well.
  • Support to help maintain their personal care. They can have as much or as little help as they need with showering, dressing, and grooming.
  • Laundry and housekeeping services to make daily living easier.
  • Medication assistance to help residents safely manage multiple medicines.
  • The opportunity to participate in a full calendar of life enrichment programs and community outings.
  • Transportation to physician appointments, shopping, and more.

To learn more about housing options for a Michigan loved one with Parkinson’s disease, please visit Wellspring Living Services. We share information on a variety of living solutions ranging from affordable housing to memory care.