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Social Effects of Parkinson’s Disease Among Aging Adults

By , 9:00 am on

Difficulty with finding words and recalling details aren’t the only disruptive symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. It’s also a condition that can have a big social impact on any of the 100,000-plus Canadians currently living with this condition, according to UCB Canada Inc. If you’re caring for an older loved one with Parkinson’s, here’s how it may affect him or her socially.

Friends May Misunderstand Symptoms

Friends of elderly people with Parkinson’s sometimes misunderstand symptoms associated with this condition and begin to reach out less and less. For instance, increased fatigue and apathy may be misinterpreted as a senior’s lack of interest in doing anything socially. The unpredictability of symptoms could also make some friends hesitant about making plans in advance. Seniors with Parkinson’s may be able to overcome problems such as these by:

• Sharing information about the nature of the disease
• Telling friends they still prefer to be included and invited to social gatherings, even if they may not always be able to go
• Suggesting alternatives that are more appropriate in light of their Parkinson’s-related limitations (e.g., inviting friends over for a meal made at home instead of going out)

At some point, your loved one may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated elderly home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Communication Skills Can Deteriorate

Parkinson’s can affect voice clarity and volume. A deterioration in communication skills of this nature may make it difficult to be heard in social settings where there’s background noise or other distractions. Speech therapy may enhance vocal clarity, projection, and other communication difficulties.

Balance and Coordination May Limit Activities

Some seniors with Parkinson’s begin to withdraw from social situations when they start experiencing tremors or other issues with balance and coordination. However, this doesn’t mean the only option left is remaining at home. With proper planning, it’s still possible for seniors with Parkinson’s to be socially engaged outside the home. Such planning efforts may involve:

• Checking ahead to see if an intended destination is handicapped-accessible (if your loved one needs to use a wheelchair)
• Making sure a companion who is aware of your loved one’s condition goes along if you can’t go
• Choosing social activities outside the home that take place in safe, well-lit settings with open spaces and amenities that increase comfort and peace of mind

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to manage, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Edmonton Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

There May Be an Increased Sense of Loneliness and Isolation

Because Parkinson’s symptoms can vary in severity and predictability, seniors with this condition may reach a point where they feel lonely or isolated. Even if you make an effort to be as attentive and supportive as possible, your loved one may experience depression, anxiety, and stress that contribute to social withdrawal.

You may be able to help your loved one manage the emotional aspects of Parkinson’s by offering reassurance and support. Seniors living with this condition may also benefit from:

• In-person support groups with other individuals with Parkinson’s
• Individualized counseling or therapy
• Group-based forms of exercise (e.g., taking a yoga class for seniors or participating in aqua therapy)

Many seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can continue to live at home, but they’ll most likely need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Edmonton, AB, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (780) 977-7379 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.