Keeping My Mom Safe, Happy, and Healthy
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Keeping My Mom Safe, Happy, and Healthy

When we found out that my mom was experiencing signs of dementia, we didn't take the news lightly. We were concerned about her well-being, and I knew that she couldn't keep living on her own. To keep her safe, I decided to enroll her in a nursing home that specialized in mental health care. She was concerned about the change at first, but as soon as she moved in, she only had positive things to say about her new digs. She loved the ability to get in touch with doctors the same day, and she was even able to make a few friends along the way. This blog is all about keeping your parents safe, happy and healthy.

Keeping My Mom Safe, Happy, and Healthy

Understanding Early Signs Of Parkinson's And The Importance Of Timely Diagnosis

Lisa Sutton

Parkinson's disease has been receiving more media and medical coverage in recent years, particularly because of celebrity diagnoses raising awareness. Unfortunately, that attention has not translated well into a widespread understanding of the early signs of the disease. Although most people understand that Parkinson's disease causes tremors, there are many subtle signs that appear early in the onset of the condition. The more you can understand about the early signs, the sooner you can seek supportive care or an assisted living environment for a loved one who has it.

The Importance of Early Identification

By the time the widely recognized Parkinson's symptoms appear, the condition has progressed to a significant stage, which may prevent some early intervention and physical therapy that could slow the progression. In some situations, early intervention and routine therapy can help patients develop coping mechanisms and slow the progression of the disease.

The Variety of Early Symptoms

The early signs of Parkinson's are subtle and easy to dismiss, but when you know what to watch for, you'll be able to seek not only diagnosis, but also comprehensive treatment. The sooner you receive a diagnosis for your loved one, the sooner you can secure an assisted living environment for when he or she needs it most. Some of the earliest indicators of the disease include the following:

  • A Diminished Sense of Smell - Although a reduced sense of smell could also indicate things like sinus problems or cognitive conditions, when paired with other early signs, it can be a key indication of Parkinson's disease. In the early development stages, Parkinson's is believed to affect the olfactory bulb. Since the olfactory bulb controls your sense of smell, anything that affects it can contribute to problems with smells.
  • A Low or Soft Speaking Voice - Parkinson's disease can contribute to softening the volume and pitch of a voice. If someone you love has suddenly started talking in softer tones or has become hard for everyone to hear, it could be an early indication of Parkinson's disease. While things like the common cold can cause these types of symptoms, if it persists after recovery from the cold, that's a sign of something more serious going on. The speech changes typically occur as a result of changes in the brain that make it difficult to regulate volume and pitch.
  • A Persistent Struggle With Sleep - Another common issue for people in the early stages of Parkinson's disease is disrupted sleep. Sleep problems with Parkinson's disease aren't the result of insomnia, though. It is usually caused by extreme, random physical movements while sleeping. Caused by involuntary muscle movements, these actions can affect both the patient and a loved one sharing the bed. In some cases, the movements can be so significant that they can even cause someone to fall out of bed.
  • A Problem With Muscle Tension - As a precursor to the muscle tremors that occur with more advanced Parkinson's disease, persistent muscle tightness and tension can be an early sign of the condition.
  • A Sudden Shift to Smaller Handwriting - If a loved one previously had large, flowing handwriting that has suddenly become much smaller and crowded together, that may be an indication of Parkinson's disease. The motor skills problems that many people develop in the early stages of Parkinson's can cause struggles with letter formation and word placement when writing by hand.

Although each of these symptoms can be easily overlooked by itself, if more than one occur together, there's a chance that your loved one might have Parkinson's disease. As soon as you receive a formal diagnosis, you should start looking into the supportive care that will soon become necessary. Many assisted living facilities provide care and support for people with Parkinson's disease.