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When your older family member’s doctor told them that they have Parkinson’s disease, they probably explained that the disease gets worse over time. However, as a family caregiver, you may be uncertain just what that means for their future. In fact, you might be wondering just how bad the disease will get. Knowing what to expect can assist you with making plans for their care when the disease reaches its final stages.
What Are the Late Stages of Parkinson’s Like?
There are five stages of Parkinson’s disease. When doctors talk about the “late stages” of Parkinson’s disease, they are usually referring to stages four and five. By the time the senior reaches stage four, they are disabled and need help to do many things. They might still be able to stand up on their own but will probably need to use a mobility aid like a walker to move around safely. Because they need help with many daily activities, the senior will not be able to live alone.
In stage five, your aging relative will no longer be able to stand up or get out of bed without help. They are likely to fall when they are standing or turning. Because of the high probability of falling, the person must have constant care to keep them safe. In addition to motor symptoms, the senior may also experience delusions or hallucinations.
Late Stage Care
Being a caregiver during the late stages will be a big responsibility. Your aging relative will need help for nearly everything, which can be exhausti ng and time consuming. One thing you’re likely to spend a lot of time doing is lifting the senior to a standing position or helping them transfer from a wheelchair to another surface. It’s important that you learn the proper techniques to keep you safe and prevent injuring the older adult. Ask the doctor for a referral to a physical therapist who can teach you.
Your aging relative will also need help using the bathroom and bathing, which can be uncomfortable for some people. It may be a good idea to talk t o your family member in the earlier stages about how they will want to handle these things when the time comes. They may be more comfortable with certain family members than with others. Or, they may prefer to have a professional assist them.
Regardless o f whether the person feels comfortable with family members helping them with personal care, it’s likely you will need to bring in some outside help so that family caregivers can take a break or attend to other responsibilities. Contacting a senior care agency during early stages can ensure you’re prepared when new care needs arise. Senior care providers can come to the house for just a few hours a week or for entire days. Senior care can also offer overnight care services.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Forest Acres, SC, please talk to our caring staff. Call today (803) 223-6173.