Understanding Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a manageable condition that affects someone’s control of their body. It is a degenerative neurological disease, which means it’s caused in the brain, and symptoms will progress over time. As the disease progresses, people usually have issues with walking, talking, eating and sleeping.
Scientists don’t know what causes Parkinson’s. It affects the brain’s production of dopamine, which is a hormone that helps control smooth muscle movements. Research doesn’t indicate Parkinson’s is hereditary.
Signs and diagnosis of Parkinson’s
People usually notice the signs of Parkinson’s after the age of 60, but a small percentage of people get diagnosed before then.
Not everyone has the same symptoms, but some of the most common ones are:
- Shaking in a hand or arm when you’re tired or resting
- Muscle stiffness or sudden muscle freezing and not being able to move at all
- A feeling of generally slowing down, walking with small shuffling steps
- Stooped posture and loss of balance
Some people report that before muscle stiffness and tremors, they noticed:
- Constipation, issues with digestion, and incontinence
- Loss of smell
- Speaking more quietly and changes in handwriting
- Fatigue and issues with sleeping, including restless legs
- Changes in mood
Because these early signs of Parkinson’s can seem like something else, a lot of people dismiss them and don’t seek medical treatment. See a doctor as soon as possible if you notice anything unusual about your body, mood or general health.
Your doctor might refer you to a neurologist, who is the best person to make a diagnosis. There’s no one test for Parkinson’s. The neurologist will want to rule out other causes of your symptoms, and test how your symptoms are affecting you. They might repeat these tests over time to measure any changes and confirm a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s. Your doctor will work with you to manage your symptoms.
Treatment options for Parkinson’s can include:
- Medications to manage symptoms
- Surgery – this is only relevant and recommended for some people
- Lifestyle changes like a high-fibre diet to address constipation, and exercise to manage muscle stiffness, depression and balance.
There’s no one treatment for Parkinson’s that works for everyone, and your own needs and reactions to treatments might change over time. Your treatment should be tailored to you.
Your doctor might refer you to other health professionals like a physiotherapist or dietician to work on managing your symptoms. You might also find an occupational therapist helpful to make sure you find the right supports to manage around the home.
Country Care Group – we’re here for you
Everyone’s experience of Parkinson’s is different, and everyone’s support needs are different. We want to make sure you can keep doing the things you love, whether it’s getting covered in cake by the grandkids on Wednesdays or maintaining your bowls reputation on Sundays.
Our staff work with you and your health team to understand what you might need, and what you don’t. We service and test things ourselves, and we listen to what our customers tell us.
What we will do: connect you with the right products for your Parkinson’s symptoms and your lifestyle.
What we won’t do: sell you expensive junk you’ll never use.
Bathroom and personal care
Comfort and safety
Living with Parkinson’s
Getting support early is key to managing Parkinson’s. You might need support from a range of allied health professionals. They can help you identify difficulties in living with Parkinson’s, and find solutions so you can carry on with every day life. For example, research suggests regular exercise can improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s and overall quality of life. You would need to work with a physiotherapist or other professional to develop an exercise plan that works for you.
Talk to your doctor about how much support you will need now and in the future, and any funding options available for you and your carers. Parkinson’s Australia can also provide you with more information about supports and resources available.
If you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s before the age of 65, you might be eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The NDIS provides funding to access disability supports and services. Here at Country Care Group, we have expert NDIS Ambassadors who can guide you through the NDIS process.
If you’re still working, adjustments may make staying in the workforce entirely possible. You might need flexible hours, working from home arrangements, or changes to the physical parts of your role.
You’re not obliged to tell your employer about your condition, and it’s illegal for them to discriminate based on disability or health conditions. Some people find it helpful to tell their manager that they’ve been diagnosed with a health condition, and how symptoms will affect their work. This can help your manager understand what you need and find solutions. If your manager can’t help, they might know someone who can.
Parkinson’s can affect your mobility in many ways. Your mobility needs might also change day to day, or over time. Our staff consider what you’ll need over the course of your condition, so you don’t have to keep buying new products.
We build and sell high-quality, user-tested mobility supports, and offer free safety and orientation programs so you can carry on with confidence.
Complex Rehabilitation Team
Changes around the home can make a big difference for people living with Parkinson’s.
We provide a tailored to you and your needs. Our qualified trades specialists work with you, your health professionals and architects to make your home safe and accessible.
Contact our Complex Rehab Team to book a free and private consultation.
Changes around the house can make it possible for you to stay in your own home in safety and comfort for longer.
Our qualified home modification specialists work with you, your health professionals and architects to make your home safe and accessible. We can visit you to see what will work best, or come see our range of products in one of our showrooms.
Get in touch today
It can be overwhelming figuring out what you need now, and what you might need in the future. Wherever you are in your journey, our expert staff are here for you.
Contact us today for expert advice and local knowledge.