If your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may be feeling overwhelmed with trying to determine what effects the disease will have and what resources are available to help as the disease progresses. Although there’s a wide range of symptoms that may or may not be experienced, typically the course of the disease follows five main stages:

Stage 1: During the first stage of the disease, also known as early-stage Parkinson’s, a person typically has only mild symptoms that may present as follows:

  • Symptoms are only on one side of the body
  • Symptoms are inconvenient, but not disabling
  • The person will usually have uncontrolled tremors or shaking in one limb
  • Friends and family can usually detect changes in the person’s posture, balance, and facial expressions

Stage 2: During the second stage of Parkinson’s, inability to perform normal physical tasks may become more apparent:

  • Symptoms will affect both sides of the body
  • The person has minimal disability, and usually encounters ambulatory or balance problems
  • Posture is affected

Stage 3: This stage is considered moderate Parkinson’s disease, and more significant disability will begin to develop:

  • There is a significant slowing of the body movements
  • Early impairment of equilibrium may result in the inability to walk straight or stand
  • There is generalized dysfunction that is moderately severe

Stage 4: Stage four represents advanced Parkinson’s disease and is accompanied by severe symptoms:

  • Rigidity and bradykinesia, or slow movements are often visible
  • The person can usually not complete daily tasks and typically cannot live alone
  • Tremors may lessen or disappear for unknown reasons during this time

Stage 5: The final stage of the disease usually takes over the patient’s physical movements:

  • The person usually experiences a general reduction in vitality and strength of the body and mind
  • The person may not be able to walk or stand
  • Requires one-on-one care

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s is challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. The compassionate home care professionals at Live Free Home Health Care in New Hampshire are ready to stand beside you and your loved one every step of the way, providing help with meals, housekeeping, transportation, exercise, and much more. Contact us for a free in-home assessment and let us help make life a little easier, for your loved one and for you.