As a Parkinson’s caregiver, it is a requirement to know all of the technical aspects of the disease. There are, however, certain terms that anyone caring for a senior with Parkinson’s should know to be able to better communicate with the patient’s doctors, especially as family caregivers often observe behaviours and symptoms first. Here are a few of the most important terms to become familiar with when providing Parkinson’s care, provided by the Toronto in-home care expert, Home Care Assistance.
- Action tremor – An involuntary movement of the limbs often initiated by normal movement such as picking up a cup of coffee.
- Ataxia – Refers to a loss of balance.
- Bilateral – When symptoms affect both sides of the body.
- Bradykinesia – The slowing of movement, a common symptom as Parkinson’s advances.
- Choreoathetosis – Jerky movements usually affecting the arms.
- Cogwheel rigidity – Muscle stiffness often seen in the arms and legs.
- Constipation – A decreased inability of the intestinal muscles to efficiently facilitate bowel movements.
- Dementia – Referring to a set of symptoms rather than a specific disease, the most common being memory loss and an inability to focus or concentrate.
- Dysarthria – Difficulty speaking that’s caused by impairment of muscles in the throat and neck.
- Flexion – A curved posture.
- Hypokinesia – A noticeable decrease in motor activities.
- Intention tremors – Tremors that occur with an attempt at voluntary movement such as attempting to rise from a sitting position or brushing hair.
- Lewy body – Brain cells that are sometimes damaged in people with Parkinson’s disease associated with dementia symptoms that often result in a decline in thinking and reasoning.
- Micrographia – Small handwriting due to difficulty with hand motions and finger dexterity.
- Palilalia – A symptom of Parkinson’s referring to interruptions in the flow of speech.
- Parkinson’s facies – A stoic or nearly motionless facial expression.
- Parkinsonism – A set of symptoms experienced together, including a stooped posture, tremors and shuffling while walking, that can often be eased with medications.
Because Parkinson’s will naturally evolve into different stages over time, being able to identify any of the above symptoms immediately can help to ensure safety and early treatment for your loved one.
To learn more about caring for a senior with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Toronto today. Along with flexible care schedules, our professional and compassionate caregivers are specially trained in how to care for seniors with Parkinson’s and provide in-home Parkinson’s care in Toronto and Etobicoke. Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager today by calling 416-488-8777.