Having an older family member with Parkinson’s disease can be intimidating and difficult when you’re first learning about the disease. However, if you’re taking steps to gain as much knowledge about Parkinson’s disease so that you can be a better family caregiver to the older adult, you’re on the right path. Chances are, you’ve gained some basic knowledge about this progressive disease, such as symptoms, but there are many more things to know.
Below are 4 facts about Parkinson’s disease that you may not have learned yet but should definitely know.
#1: For Some People, the Non-Motor Symptoms are More Troubling
Many people think of Parkinson’s disease as a motor disease, meaning that it only affects movement. However, most people with the disease also experience non-motor symptoms. Some of the non-motor symptoms are:
- Cognitive problems, like forgetfulness and trouble with concentration.
- Mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.
- Sleep problems.
Because people are often unaware of the non-motor symptoms, when they occur, they can be frightening. Learning about these symptoms and how they can affect your aging relative can make them easier to deal with.
#2: No One Knows What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
When someone in your family is diagnosed with a serious disease, like Parkinson’s, it’s natural to look for a reason for their diagnosis. You want a reason or something to blame. Perhaps you’re looking for reassurance that you won’t be affected by the same disease. Unfortunately, doctors don’t know what causes some people to develop Parkinson’s disease. If you’re concerned that you may get Parkinson’s one day, you should know that only between 10 and 15 percent of cases have anything to do with genetics.
#3: Treating Parkinson’s is Expensive
This isn’t something you probably want to hear, but the cost of the disease is something you need to be prepared for. According to Parkinson’s News Today, most people with the disease will require about $2,500 in medications per year. If the doctor recommends therapeutic surgery, the costs could be as much as $100,000. Family caregivers can prepare for these costs by learning what is covered by Medicare or the older adult’s insurance. A social worker or patient advocate may be able to assist with finding additional financial resources.
#4: Parkinson’s Doesn’t Have to Ruin the Senior’s Life
Being handed a Parkinson’s diagnosis can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to make life unbearable. With assistance from family caregivers and home care, people with Parkinson’s disease can continue to live meaningful lives. A home care provider can help with daily activities as they become too difficult for the older adult. By offering services such as house cleaning, cooking, and helping with personal needs (dressing, grooming, bathing, etc.), home care can ensure your aging relative continues to live comfortably in their home. It also means they can focus on the things they enjoy instead of struggling with the things they have to do.