Parkinson's disease is a highly variable and potentially debilitating neurological condition. For many people who are first diagnosed, symptoms can be mild, which might slow the progression of the disease with treatment efforts.
Caregivers often take on the role of managing care for their loved one until symptoms become too challenging.
Assisted living is a great alternative for seniors who need extra care outside of their home to ensure they are safe and healthy.
What IS an Assisted Living Facility for Parkinson’s Patients?
While there is no facility for just Parkinson's patients, if you love one with PD then it does not mean they will lack proper care in a nursing home.
The facilities that provide assisted living should be prepared for the residents who have Parkinson's disease. This is just like any other neurological or medical conditions as people age.
Parkinson’s Disease is on the rise, and it affects one million Americans. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that this number will double by 2021 if we do not find a cure soon!
The average age of onset for PD is 56 and the older someone gets at the time they are diagnosed, it's more likely that their disease will be severe. As far as caring for a person with Parkinson’s Disease adequately when living alone becomes difficult or impossible; assisted living may become necessary to ensure safety.
Parkinson's symptoms worsen with time and are identified in stages of progression. But each person will progress at their own pace, some requiring assistance early on while others require it much later.
Patients with Parkinson’s may need help with the following things:
Not all Parkinson’s patients will experience a loss of balance, decreased coordination, or difficulty walking as they age. However, it is important for these people to recognize that physical limitations can be difficult to manage.
Things You Should Look for in an Assisted Living Facility for Parkinson’s Patients
Assisted living communities can help patients with Parkinson's disease, but you want to make sure they are able to attend your loved one’s unique symptoms and needs.
The neurological disorder, PD can be a serious problem later in life. To ensure that you have an assisted living facility with the necessary support and care for your condition, here are some things to consider:
-Does this particular area/community offer supportive services? If so what kind (e.g., speech therapy)?
-What type of professional staff does it employ? Are they experienced or entry level workers who may not know how best to treat patients with Parkinson's Disease symptoms like swallowing issues...?
Trained Staff Availability
Assisted living communities have dedicated staff available to help with a variety of activities, including some basic daily tasks like bathing and dressing. There are several tiers or care levels that determine how much assistance your loved one will receive in addition to the base cost for staying at an assisted living community.
If your loved one's needs exceed what the staff at assisted living can provide, you may have to pay for additional outside help. For example, if your loved one is finding it hard to get out of bed and dressed in the morning due to their health conditions or aging process then they might need someone else (you) helping them with this instead of having a paid carer do so.
It is recommended that you figure out the requirements for moving to memory care from assisted living. This information will help plan accordingly, as intervening in any problems early on can delay memory care and make it easier before transitioning over completely.
Meal Quality and Variety
Patients with Parkinson's disease may have trouble swallowing and require a modified food regimen. You will want to find out if the kitchen can accommodate special diets, like a mechanical soft diet.
People with Parkinson's need a healthy, varied diet to ensure that they are receiving all of the essential vitamins and nutrients. However, too much protein can interfere with certain PD medications. Get in touch with the food service department to make sure dietary preferences and requirements will be met throughout your treatment at this hospital or facility.
For people with Parkinson's, physical exercise is important to maintain strength and flexibility. It can also increase endurance in the beginning stages of the disease.
With the activities schedule in hand, go over which activities would be best suited for your loved one. Speak with them about what they have planned to stay updated and involved!
For some people with Parkinson's disease, riding a stationary bike can be useful for staying active and healthy. There should always be someone available in the gym to monitor activity just in case something happens.
When considering group activities as part of assisted living, there are two main considerations. Firstly, people with Parkinson's disease may be stigmatized due to their rigidity and tremors; this can make it difficult for them to connect with other residents at a care center. Secondly, the person who is looking after these individuals must always keep in mind that they have PD because if something goes wrong—such as choking or falling—they will need quick medical attention from someone already trained on how best to handle such situations.
To make sure that your loved one feels welcomed and included, it is important to express these concerns with the assisted living staff.
Mental Health Issues
Because depression is common among people with Parkinson's, up to 50 percent of them are also depressed. It's important not to think that the assisted living facility should be responsible for treating this mental health disorder; they will only do what you ask or let them know about the condition when it comes up.
An awareness of the issue and referral to available resources is a bonus. It can also be helpful if staff members recognize signs of depression and report them.
Memory Care Availability
There are various types of dementia, the most common form being Parkinson's. Dementia is a loss in memory and cognitive function that can affect the brain over time. While it may be unpleasant to think about once someone has reached old age, they must consider their future if they develop this condition as 50-80% of people with Parkinson’s disease will experience some symptoms associated with dementia before death occurs due to complications from Parkinsons itself or any other health conditions present within an individual at diagnosis which could influence mortality risk such as heart disease (Borghammer et al., 2018).
When your loved one moves into an assisted living community, it may be a good idea to look at the memory care as well. The transition will likely be more comfortable if you do so now before any issues arise with dementia or Alzheimer's disease down the line.
How Can You Tell if Your Parkinson’s Afflicted Loved One is Ready for Assisted Living?
If you have reached the point of caregiver burnout, it might be time to consider assisted living. Assisted living provides a place where your loved one can receive care that exceeds what is possible at home or with in-home health support services like those provided by Visiting Angels®.
Safety becomes an issue when safety hazards cannot be managed adequately at home; social isolation and loneliness are concerns because these feelings may worsen as memory problems arise from dementia symptoms such as short term memory loss and concentration issues caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of Dementia; Memory related kind of problem make difficult for us so we need some sort assistance which helps our loved ones stay active socially, mentally & physically alert throughout their day.
Finding the Best Assisted Living Facility for a Parkinson’s Patient
Assisted living communities that offer care for Parkinson's Disease will often have to adjust their services as the disease progresses.
Having some idea of the disease's trajectory will help you make informed decisions. Talk with your loved one's doctor to get a clear picture of what lies ahead for them and how far they may be able to go in treatment or recovery.
Count the Cost
If you are concerned about paying for assisted living, it is important to know how costs will increase as your loved one's needs do.
By considering private home care in addition to what the assisted living staff can offer, you may be able to make sure that your loved one is getting all the help they need. Ask about add-on costs for this additional level of service as well as likely yearly increases in base fees and charges.
Ease of Mobility
Assisted living layouts vary from community to community. Some might have long hallways that can make navigating feel like being trapped and claustrophobic, or difficult if the elevators are a distance away from rooms only available in one place.
For example, if it takes too long to access the dining and activity rooms, that could increase isolation which can lead to loneliness. This also increases fall risk due to a lack of movement in general.
Professional Nursing Availability
If your loved one has ongoing nursing needs, evaluate whether the assisted living facility is able to handle those. If not, you might consider other options like home health or private nursing.
The family of a loved one with Parkinson's disease has to consider the transportation schedule for outpatient treatment. A limited transport system at an assisted living community might not be convenient, so families should look into other options before moving forward with arrangements.
Spaces like libraries, theatres, and meeting rooms are places where people naturally gather. Making friends in assisted living for someone with PD can be challenging so having these spaces creates an atmosphere that is conducive to connection and conversation.
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