Actor Michael J. Fox has been on a mission to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease (PD) and how it impacts an adult’s life. He was diagnosed with PD at just 29 years of age. Since then, he has shared his challenging journey through personal appearances and his work with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has helped many learn more about the condition.
With symptoms ranging from tremors to mobility challenges, PD is classified as a neurodegenerative disease. It occurs when the body fails to produce the necessary amount of dopamine, the chemical required for smooth muscle movements.
Dopamine helps relay messages between the brain and the body to control muscle activity. When that communication is impaired, a person’s ability to initiate and control movement is impacted.
While these symptoms create challenges for the person with PD and their family caregivers, there is also another concern that people are less familiar with. That is Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Like other forms of dementia, it can present unique safety challenges for family caregivers.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia?
Researchers say that between 50 and 80 percent of people with PD will eventually develop Parkinson’s disease dementia. Like dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease dementia results from a buildup of protein deposits, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain of a person with PD.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease dementia are similar to other forms of dementia. Common symptoms include:
- memory loss and forgetfulness
- difficulty concentrating
- hallucinations and/or delusions
- problems sleeping
- difficulties with verbal communication
- anxiety and nervousness
- irritability and quick to anger
- poor judgment
- depression and sadness.
Can Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Be Treated?
As is the case with most forms of dementia, there is currently no cure. Health professionals typically try to create a care plan to manage the individual symptoms of the disease. For example, the family might work with a sleep disorder specialist to help their senior loved one overcome insomnia or other sleep issues. An occupational therapist gives ideas that allow the senior to continue to eat independently with the support of adaptive utensils.
Assisted Living at Sunrise Senior Living
Because the average age at the onset of PD is 60, family members caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s are often in the prime of their lives. They are busy raising families and pursuing careers. It can make caring for a person with Parkinson’s disease dementia more challenging as symptoms progress.
For some, an adult day program allows the adult an opportunity to socialize in a safe, supportive environment. Many families also find the support of an assisted living community beneficial. Short-term respite care can be a solution when a caregiver needs to travel for work or take time to relax and recharge.
Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to learn how assisted living communities help adults with PD or Parkinson’s disease dementia live their best quality of life.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living