Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder that can shorten a senior’s life span, but many people live with this disease for multiple decades. As long as Parkinson’s is caught early on, seniors and their doctors should be able to come up with effective treatment plans that reduce the symptoms of this disorder and enhance their quality of life. Here’s a quick look at how this condition affects the body and some steps seniors with Parkinson’s can take to increase their life expectancy.
Understanding Parkinson’s Disease
This neurodegenerative disorder damages the area of the brain responsible for producing and processing dopamine. Dopamine is a unique chemical that transmits signals throughout the body, and it’s vital for most motor skills. When the brain isn’t able to produce or process dopamine, seniors may experience a wide array of symptoms. Tremors are the most common symptom of Parkinson’s, but some seniors experience cognitive changes as well. Parkinson’s disease can result in chronic stress, depression, mood swings, and memory loss. Even though there isn’t a cure for this disorder, some of the most common symptoms can be mitigated with the proper treatment protocol.
In-home caregivers can be a wonderful source of support for seniors with Parkinson’s. Families looking for top-rated Centennial 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.
Average Life Expectancy Following a Diagnosis
Many seniors don’t realize Parkinson’s isn’t fatal on its own. It’s the complications of this disease that are fatal, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to manage the symptoms. While every case is slightly different, one recent study in the journal Neurology revealed that many seniors with Parkinson’s can live for multiple decades after being diagnosed with this disease. The average life span for someone with Parkinson’s is nearly identical to the average life expectancy of the general population. That being said, seniors must follow a comprehensive treatment plan if they want to enjoy a long and fulfilling life.
Increasing Life Expectancy
As the disease progresses, seniors and their caregivers must make sweeping lifestyle changes. One of the most common causes of death among seniors with Parkinson’s is respiratory infections such as pneumonia. When eating, the muscles in the throat might not contract and relax at the proper times. Over the course of a few years, the food debris increases the risk of a respiratory infection. Many experts suggest that seniors with Parkinson’s should stick to soft foods, take small bites, and keep their heads elevated while eating. Seniors who have this disorder should also consider using mobility devices like wheelchairs or canes if they’re experiencing any balance issues.
Difficulty swallowing and other eating issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for aging adults increasingly challenging. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Centennial, CO, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Current Treatment Options
Two of the most popular treatments for Parkinson’s are deep brain stimulation (DBS) and synthetic levodopa. Taking high doses of levodopa makes it much easier for the body to produce dopamine, which minimizes some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s. Deep brain stimulation is a relatively new treatment, but it appears to be extremely effective in the earliest stages of this disorder. During a DBS session, various areas of the brain are stimulated with harmless pulses of electricity, which can trigger the production of dopamine and decrease brain cell death.
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 Centennial 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. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (303) 957-3100.