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5 Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in Aging Adults

By , 9:00 am on

Parkinson’s disease is a type of central nervous system disorder that makes it difficult for the body to properly control movements. In its earliest stages, the symptoms of Parkinson’s may be very subtle. An early diagnosis may be challenging to achieve, but it allows seniors to get access to a variety of helpful treatment options. To ensure your senior loved one gets the help he or she needs as soon as possible, keep an eye out for these early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease.

1. Handwriting Changes

Fine motor skills are often one of the first types of motion Parkinson’s disease alters. Seniors may not notice it at first because they can still perform daily tasks and don’t experience obvious tremors. However, handwriting may provide one of the earliest signs that something isn’t right. For seniors with Parkinson’s, writing tends to become smaller and look more cramped over time. Compare your loved one’s current writing to his or her previous handwriting to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

2. Chronic Constipation

Parkinson’s disease doesn’t just affect the muscles used to move the arms and legs. It can also impair the nerves and muscles used to manage digestion, so people with Parkinson’s disease often experience chronic constipation. It’s normal for seniors to have some difficulty with bowel movements when they don’t get enough water and fiber, but they may need to get a checkup if they have regular constipation even when they get the right amounts of water and fiber. 

If your loved one has digestive difficulties, he or she may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with planning and preparing healthy meals. Families looking for top-rated Oshkosh 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.

3. Serious Facial Expressions

One of the fairly distinctive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is called facial masking. Though seniors are still able to move their faces normally, they may no longer instinctively shift their faces to mirror their emotions. Seniors may be told they look sad, mad, or upset because their faces look so blank and serious. This symptom may go away when seniors purposefully try to smile or show specific expressions, but it comes back when they’re not paying attention. 

Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can live at home, but they may need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Oshkosh, 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.

4. Loss of Smell

Since Parkinson’s disease affects the nerves, it can change the way seniors sense certain things. Many people with Parkinson’s disease start to lose the sense of smell. Though they can still distinguish basic smells, they may have difficulty smelling distinct scents of flavors like licorice or bananas. Smell also affects the sense of taste, so if certain foods no longer taste right, it can also be a sign of Parkinson’s disease.

5. Wild Movements During Sleep

It’s normal for everyone to toss and turn a little bit, but in people with Parkinson’s disease, nighttime movements may become very pronounced. This happens because the body isn’t properly controlling motion once it falls asleep. Seniors may act out their dreams or twitch constantly while asleep.

Early diagnosis is critical because 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 Oshkosh 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. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (920) 710-2273 today.