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Parkinson’s Disease: The 5 Stages

By , 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition, which means it gradually worsens and changes over time. To accurately describe the condition, doctors have divided Parkinson’s symptoms into five basic stages. Not all people progress at the same rate, but the scale developed by Hoehn and Yahr is still quite helpful for understanding the disease. Learning about the stages of Parkinson’s disease can help you know what to expect and develop a treatment plan following your senior loved one’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Stage 1

During this stage, symptoms are so mild that some people may not even realize anything is wrong. Most people with stage one Parkinson’s disease just have a light tremor, occasional feelings of clumsiness, a somewhat rigid facial expression, or some rigidity in a hand or leg. Only one side of the body is affected during stage one, and any symptoms are so mild that they don’t impair functionality.

Stage 2

Stage two is also a very mild stage of Parkinson’s disease. It can take months or years to reach this stage. The main difference between stage one and two is simply that the symptoms occur on both sides of the body. People blink less and lose some of their instinctive facial expressions. They may talk quietly or in a monotone due to changes in the mouth and throat muscles, and they may move a little more slowly in general. Stiffness and muscle rigidity can cause some pain, and tremors can come and go.

Stage 3

Stage three is when Parkinson’s is most often diagnosed. It’s characterized by increasing slowness of movement and a loss of balance. In this stage, seniors have some impairments along with familiar Parkinson’s symptoms such as tremors and muscle rigidity. They can still take care of aspects of daily life such as eating and getting dressed, but it can be challenging to do things that require a lot of balance and coordination, such as playing a musical instrument or taking part in a golf game. 

At this stage, your loved one may benefit greatly from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated Edmonton home care service 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.

Stage 4

Seniors enter stage four when they can no longer live alone. It can take years following a Parkinson’s diagnosis to reach this stage, but when it happens, the symptoms of Parkinson’s will be severe enough to impair daily living. Seniors may be able to stand or walk by themselves, but the slowness, freezing, and tremors of Parkinson’s are frequent enough that tasks such as cooking and showering become dangerous or impossible. 

Seniors in this stage can live at home, but they will need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Edmonton, 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.

Stage 5

Not all people with Parkinson’s reach stage five. This stage includes very severe symptoms, such as the inability to get out of bed or frequent tumbles when trying to walk. Unlike other stages of Parkinson’s, this final stage can result in mental confusion issues such as delusions and hallucinations. Seniors in stage 5 often need constant care because they cannot perform any daily activities on their own.

Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, 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. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (780) 490-7337 to learn more about our customized care plans.