Those with Parkinson’s disease may eventually develop memory loss or a decline in thinking and reasoning skills.
Many families already grappling with the effects of Parkinson’s disease on their loved one. They may not be aware of the signs of Parkinson’s related dementia.
Understanding that memory loss due to Parkinson’s may occur can help families determine the proper care options.
Learn how Parkinson’s disease can lead to memory loss, the signs of Parkinson’s related dementia, and how a memory care community can provide love and support.
How Does Parkinson’s Disease Lead to Memory Loss?
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive movement disorder characterized by nerve cell loss in a specific region of the brain.
This region, called the substantia nigra, is responsible for producing dopamine. The loss or damage of these cells reduces the amount of dopamine in the brain.
This can cause the following main symptoms, known as parkinsonism:
- Tremors, usually beginning in the hand or arm
- Slow movement
- Muscle stiffness
As the brain continues to change, mental functions can begin to suffer. This may be due to abnormal proteins in the brain that are typically found in those with Parkinson’s.
These proteins, known as Lewy bodies, can be found in those who have dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Abnormal plaques and tangles also may be found in the brain as well. These plaques and tangles are commonly found in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Signs of Parkinson’s Related Dementia
As a result of these brain changes, those with Parkinson’s disease may eventually develop the following signs of Parkinson’s related dementia:
- Changes in concentration, judgment, and memory
- Depression and anxiety
- Visual hallucinations
- Trouble interpreting visual information
- Delusions or paranoia
- Sleep disturbances
The speed of progression will vary from person to person, but Parkinson’s disease dementia can begin at least a year after diagnosis. Some studies show that the average time from Parkinson’s onset to signs of dementia is about 10 years.
If your loved one has Parkinson’s disease, watch for the signs that they may be developing Parkinson’s disease dementia.
While there are no treatments available that stop the brain cell damage causing Parkinson’s disease dementia, there are ways to manage and improve symptoms through exercise, healthy eating, and physical or speech therapies.
What Are the Care Options for Your Loved One?
Seniors with Parkinson’s disease eventually will be unable to live on their own, and if they develop dementia, it can become even more difficult for them to perform their daily activities.
Families of those with Parkinson’s disease should develop a care plan to ensure their loved one will have the proper support in place.
If a family member is able to serve as a caregiver for a period of time, this may be an option at first. In-home care also may help. But over time, the amount of care and support needed may exceed what a family member or in-home aide is able to provide.
How a Memory Care Community Helps Those With Dementia
The best care option for your loved one may be an assisted living community with memory care. Moving your loved one to a community setting before things progress can ensure they are safe and all needs are met.
As our loved ones age, the risks for accidents and falls around the home increases. This is especially true during cold weather, the busy holiday season, and if they are developing a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s.
Moving your loved one to a community that provides the comforts of home, loving staff, and around-the-clock care is the best way to keep them safe while getting to fully enjoy our time with them.
Beginning the conversations around moving can be difficult, which is also why starting these talks as soon as possible can help. This allows your loved one to take part in the decision making, if they so choose.
Your loved one may also enjoy the possibility of socializing, as isolation at home can be severely damaging to seniors. Find a living community that offers life enrichment activities to keep them engaged and increase their quality of life.
How The Kensington Community Differs from Typical Senior Living
The Kensington Falls Church goes above and beyond what other traditional assisted living communities can offer.
We use a Positive Approach to Care (PAC), which is a person-centered approach to meeting the individual needs of those with dementia. Rather than focusing on what those with dementia have lost, we focus on what skills remain.
We also provide high acuity care, which ensures your loved one will get the medical care they need, no matter how their illness progresses. This allows them to truly “age in place.”
These care approaches, along with our on-site rehabilitation services and two memory care “neighborhoods,” ensure your loved one will have access to all the treatments and services that will preserve quality of life for as long as possible.
Call us today to hear about our suites, floor plans, and care options. The Kensington Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. We are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way.