Parkinson’s & Social Life

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How Does Parkinson’s Affect Seniors’ Social Lives in Portland, ME

Compared to younger adults, seniors already have a greater risk of becoming isolated. However, those with Parkinson’s disease experience special challenges that impact their ability to spend meaningful time with others. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can impact how well your aging loved one can socialize, but there are things you can do to help him or her get out there and stay connected to friends and family.

Apathy Can Stop Seniors from Wanting to Socialize

People tend to focus on the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s, but the disease also takes an emotional toll on older adults. Your loved one may develop depression and apathy. Apathy could cause your loved one to lose interest in seeing other people, or he or she may not care about trying to manage the symptoms anymore. When this happens, talk to the doctor to find out if your loved one has developed an underlying emotional health condition such as depression that can be treated.

At some point, your loved one may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver who can provide companionship and help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Facial Masking Makes Expressing Emotions Difficult

The same muscle stiffness and lack of responsiveness that occurs in the limbs can also happen to the facial muscles. Facial masking can cause your loved one to look angry or sad when he or she feels the exact opposite. Since this symptom is often difficult for people who are unfamiliar with Parkinson’s to understand, it could cause them to respond negatively or avoid your loved one. Your loved one may also avoid seeing others if he or she picks up on the awkwardness of the expressions. Let your loved one know how to explain to others why he or she may appear to feel one way when he or she actually feels another. Most people understand facial masking once it’s explained to them.

Walking Challenges Cause Difficulty with Getting Out of the House

As the disease progresses, your loved one may have difficulty walking and getting from one place to another. He or she may fear falling in front of other people and start to avoid going to public places. Provide a companion on outings who can help your loved one stay steady while walking or get him or her to a safe place to sit down if he or she begins to freeze up.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to manage, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Portland Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Memory Problems Make Socializing Challenging

Parkinson’s disease also affects cognitive skills. Your loved one may feel embarrassed by forgetting how he or she knows someone or getting lost in the middle of a story. Let your loved one know it’s okay to forget things from time to time. You can also plan social events with compassionate people you know will handle a memory lapse appropriately.

Speech Difficulties Complicate Communication

Your loved one may also have difficulty speaking clearly as he or she loses control over the muscles in the throat and mouth. Make sure to be patient as your loved one speaks, and provide multiple options to communicate. For instance, your loved one may prefer to write things down or use electronic text-to-audio applications that turn typed words into speech.

Many seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can continue to live at home, but they will likely need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Portland, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (207) 835-4849 to schedule a free in-home consultation.