When a person receives a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, it is frightening for the individual as well as for their loved ones. You want to know how the disease will progress, what treatments are available, how bad it’s going to get, and how long it is going to last.
These are all valid questions, but no one can predict the direction the disease will take. One person’s symptoms may advance slowly over a long period of time, another person may become disabled in a very short period of time.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease and there are multiple symptoms that create hardships for the people who have it as well as their care partners.
Three of the most challenging situations for couples may be the effect Parkinson’s has on a person’s:
- Communication skills
- Cognitive abilities
Communication: PD weakens a person’s voice to the point that it’s difficult for them to be heard. “Facial Masking” is also a problem, because the caregiver can no longer gauge their care receiver’s mood or meaning by reading the expressions on his/her face.
Cognitive abilities: Since a person with Parkinson’s can only concentrate on one thing at a time, multi-tasking becomes nearly impossible.
Behavior: Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, and psychosis are not uncommon. Compulsive behavior, including gambling, shopping and pornography can sometimes develop as a result of taking Dopamine, the medication prescribed to manage other symptoms of Parkinson’s.
If you’d like more information on the symptoms of Parkinson’s and strategies for coping with the challenges of caring for a loved one who has the disease, click here to read my article:
Maintaining Emotional Balance: The Elderly, Parkinson’s Disease & Home Care