When you have a parent, loved one or close friend who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, you want to ensure you make the best decisions possible regarding their care. Understanding how Parkinson’s disease affects people and those around them may guide you in your choices.

According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, approximately one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. While most people develop symptoms of the disorder at 50 years of age or older, nearly 10% of those affected have early onset symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease has motor and non-motor symptoms, involving physical signs and internal symptoms. Although every case may differ depending on the individual circumstances, the most common signs of the disorder include the following:

  • Slow movement
  • Balance problems and trouble walking
  • Tremors and rigidity
  • Fatigue, depression and anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • Trouble smelling

Some may experience psychosis, gastrointestinal issues and urinary issues as well. These signs may get overlooked as they are less common and are often indicators of other issues.

What to look for in a long-term care facility

People with Parkinson’s disease need special care and attention. Before placing your loved one with Parkinson’s disease in a long-term care facility, it is important to make sure they have the proper resources available.

Medication management is critical, as specific drug regimens help to control and minimize the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, the home should have a medical team available that has full knowledge of the disease and how to handle those affected. Some facilities may offer therapy and treatment for sleeping problems, movement therapy, nutrition services and programs to support hobbies.