Because Parkinson’s is a disease that progresses over time your loved one may not appear to be getting worse even when the disease is progressing. Depending on the medications that your loved one is taking and how well the body is responding to those treatments your loved one might not show some of the more advanced symptoms of Parkinson’s for quite some time. The natural rate of the progression of the disease will also play a role in how fast your loved one’s condition deteriorates.
Watching someone you love suffer from Parkinson’s is never easy, but it’s very important that you notice any changes in their behavior or routine, no matter how small. Small changes can indicate that the person’s symptoms are getting worse, or that there are new symptoms that are presenting themselves. And if your loved one is unwilling to tell his or her doctor about the new symptoms then you should tell the doctor so that the person’s treatment regimen can be adjusted.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s can be hard to detect, and since the severity of the symptoms is different for each person no two people will ever experience the same symptoms in the same way. In general people that are entering advanced or late stage Parkinson’s will have:
Tremors – Tremors are usually in visible in the hands and legs but can also appear in other parts of the body during advanced stage Parkinson’s.
Increased muscle weakness – When Parkinson’s starts advancing you might notice that your loved one has trouble getting out of bed, or has trouble standing up out of a chair if he or she has been sitting for a long time.
Limited mobility – A person with advanced Parkinson’s usually will walk with very small, shuffling steps as if every step is difficult or painful. They will also usually have very poor balance and may start falling down a lot and need constant care to prevent injury.
Increased fatigue – If you notice that your loved one has stopped caring about personal appearance and no longer bothers to clean up the house or the apartment it might be because he or she finds these things too tiring.
Trouble performing everyday tasks – When your loved one can longer manage the buttons on a shirt, or the ties on a coat, or the buckles on a shoe and can’t carry a plate or a cup anymore that is a definite sign that the disease is progressing.
Memory loss – It’s normal to have some memory loss as you get older. But if your loved one has lost a lot of memory in a short period of time or is forgetting things like names and even who they are that is a warning sign that the person could be entering dementia, which is a symptom of late stage Parkinson’s.
For people that are coping with a loved one that has Parkinson’s the best thing you can do to help them is to understand the disease. Reading all you can find about the disease and how it progresses is the best way to know how to help your loved one that has it.