As you or your loved one age, it’s common to experience a myriad of age-related problems, specifically nerve degenerating diseases affecting many different parts of the body. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common after Alzheimer’s disease and it is also most often diagnosed in adults over the age of 60. It is crucial to understand why the disease is so prevalent among the elderly, and also the varying telltale signs of the disease so you can help your loved one manage and seek the required treatment. Here is all you need to know about Parkinson’s disease in older adults.
Why Does Parkinson’s Disease Occur More in Older Adults?
The biggest contributing factor for Parkinson’s disease is aging and the exact cause is still unknown. Many researchers concur that Parkinson’s disease largely stems from a mixture of genetic and external factors and they still require greater in-depth scientific studies to uncover more.
Additionally, aging causes a deterioration in the function of organelles that serve to remove damaged proteins in the neurons. Over a prolonged period, the alpha-synuclein protein accumulates and creates Lewy bodies, damaging neurons as a result.
It is approximated that adults with Parkinson’s disease see a 60 to 80 percent decrease in neurons that are needed to produce dopamine while motor symptoms arise. Over time, the reduced function of organelles in the cell, mitochondria, and accumulation of abnormal alpha-synuclein forms can lead to the loss of neurons. Motor symptoms will emerge when extensive neuron loss occurs over a period of time.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Both non-motor and motor symptoms can possibly occur in older adults with Parkinson’s disease, including:
- Gradual loss of spontaneous movement
- Increased salivation and excessive perspiration
- Tremor of the face, hands, arms, or legs
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Rigidity of the trunk and limbs
- Changes in vision
- Slowing down of movement
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Impaired balance
- Nausea and constipation
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulties in urination
- Impaired sense of smell
- Feelings of depression
- Feelings of anxiousness
- Impaired thinking or memory
- Disturbance during sleep
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Currently, no treatment can cure or delay the disease’s progression. However, the symptoms can often be managed effectively. The primary aim of treatment in Parkinson’s disease is to preserve the person’s level of activity and to enhance the quality of life as best as possible. You may be worried that your aging loved one might experience side effects from the treatment which can worsen their quality of life instead. Rest assured; older adults are actually less likely to suffer from side effects after levodopa therapy as compared to younger patients.
If your loved one suffering from Parkinson’s has become sedentary, it is extremely challenging to reverse the process. It can be very difficult for you as a caregiver to continue providing the extensive assistance they may require in daily living activities, so consider our senior assisted living program at Discovery Commons South Biscayne. We provide personalized care, bathing, ambulation and transfers, and medication among a variety of services by our well-trained team members. Contact us to find out more today!