There are plenty of great reasons to choose an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one-- the caring community, delicious meals three times a day, fun activities, knowing that housework is no longer on your to-do list. For fifty thousand Americans each year, however, there's an added reason to consider a senior care facility: a Parkinson's diagnosis.
Parkinson's doesn't get the same level of attention as other disorders associated with aging, but a million Americans live with the condition, which primarily affects adults over fifty. Some of the symptoms are famous, including muscle rigidity and tremors. Others are peculiar and don't at first seem connected to a larger medical picture, like slowly losing the ability to smell pickles, liquorice and other smells.
The process to get diagnosed can take careful attention to changes you might be going through, including shifts in mood and speech. Some symptoms, like the loss of smell, can begin 4-6 years before movement dysfunction sets in. Others, like chronic constipation, are easy to mistake for the kind of changes you expect your body to go through as you age and can start over a decade before other symptoms start. There's no blood test for Parkinson's, so it will take a visit to your doctor to get an official diagnosis.
If you or a loved one does have Parkinson's, you'll not only have a diagnosis but also learn the stage of the condition. Parkinson's has no cure, and it is progressive. It's not life-threatening, however, so you can plan on enjoying your retirement with just a few adjustments. If the physical effects of Parkinson's, like a shuffling gait or shaking hands, makes it hard to manage everyday chores, assisted living can be a great option to keep things simple. That way you can focus on time with loved one and your hobbies.
A senior care community can also make a positive impact in Parkinson's patients' lives by helping to ameliorate the condition's impact on mood. Parkinson's is caused by the degeneration of your brain's ability to create and process dopamine, which can lead to depression and anxiety as well as the disorder's physical effects. That's why it's crucial to avoid a sense of isolation or limitation. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend therapy, too, but it can also help immensely to live near friends and neighbors, staying engaged in your favorite pastimes, and having the support of a compassionate staff can all help you stay on an even keel.
Whether you have already confirmed Parkinson's or are just trying to plan for everything retirement might hold, know that a senior home can grow with you, offering as much or as little support as you need, even if that changes over time. When a place like Maybelle Carter has your back, you can be confident in just how much there is to anticipate.
Copyright: angellodeco / 123RF Stock Photo