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According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, only 4 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before the age of 50, and the likelihood of suffering from the disease increases as people age. The reason for this low number? It can be difficult to tell if you or a loved one suffers from Parkinson’s disease as it often starts with small, innocuous symptoms only to advance into more serious issues.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Now is the time to understand what Parkinson’s disease is, how to spot early signs of it, and determine the appropriate level of care for you or your loved ones.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that Parkinson’s disease is a neurological or motor system disorder that occurs when specific neurons in the brain die or become impaired. Individuals with this disease suffer from nerve damage, which can severely impact their day-to-day life.

How to Spot Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Knowing if you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease can be difficult, as the symptoms are common in most people, and no single symptom means you or a loved one suffers from the disease. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Small handwriting
  • Loss of smell
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble moving or walking
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or fainting

If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms, you should contact your doctor.

How to Determine the Right Level of Care

While some people with Parkinson’s disease can live at home on their own and still maintain an active lifestyle, others with a more severe case need constant help from a caregiver or an assisted living community. How do you know what level of care is right for you or a loved one? Below are a few signs that an assisted living community is the appropriate level of care:

  • In-home care from a caregiver or an in-home care service is not available or too costly.
  • You or a loved one is constantly confused or forgetful, or safety is at risk.
  • Yours or a loved one’s condition has advanced, and round-the-clock care is needed.
  • Yours or a loved one’s home is more than one level and isn’t handicap-accessible.

If any of these signs are relatable, assisted living care may be the most appropriate level of care for you or a loved one.

For more information on Parkinson’s disease and the quality of care provided by Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community, please call us at 202-349-3400 or visit the Care & Services section of our website.