Sunday, August 7, 2022

How To Help Someone With Parkinson’s Dementia

What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease

Dealing with Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.

Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:

  • Speaking and communicating with others
  • Problem solving
  • Forgetfulness
  • Paying attention

If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.

Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.

Movement Problems And Lewy Body Dementia

Some people with LBD may not experience significant movement problems for several years. Others may have them early on. At first, movement symptoms, such as a change in handwriting, may be very mild and easily overlooked. Movement problems may include:

  • Muscle rigidity or stiffness

Coping With A Parkinsons Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Parkinsons can be a frightening experience for both you and your loved ones. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments available for Parkinsons symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to slow the progression of the disease and delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, including Parkinsons disease dementia. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and help you to live life fully for much longer.

If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons you may feel anger, deep sadness, or fear about what the future will bring. These feelings are all normal. Its also normal to grieve as you deal with this enormous adjustment.

Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, dont expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.

Learn all you can about Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons disease dementia. Educating yourself and making important decisions early can help you feel more in control during this difficult time.

Reach out for support. Living with Parkinsons presents many challenges, but there is help available for this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more youll be able to cope with symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.

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Social Security Disability Insurance

SSDI, often referred to as simply Disability, is assistance intended for those individuals who are of working age and cannot work as a direct result of their medical condition. The SSA does not provide care assistance but instead provides financial assistance that can be used for care. To be eligible one must both have a written diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease and have earned monthly income of less than approximately $1,000.

Can Parkinsons Disease Make You Aggressive

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Parkinsons disease Dementia or PD Dementia can make a patient very aggressive. Parkinsons Dementia Aggression germinating from Parkinsons disease Dementia can lead patients to behave erratically, experience sudden anger outbursts, feel constantly irritated, and always be in a state of restlessness. Outbursts are generally in the form of:

  • Shouting
  • Falling

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How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed

Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.

How Common Is Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

Between 20-40% of people with Parkinsons report the experience of hallucinations or delusions. When followed as the disease progresses over the years, this number increases. The increase does not mean that the hallucinations are persistent across the majority of patients. However, it is important to note that these statistics sometimes include delirium, in which the symptoms are temporary due to medication that needs to be adjusted or infection that needs to be treated, and isolated minor symptoms or minor hallucinations, including illusions, where instead of seeing things that are not there , people misinterpret things that are really there. These are the most common types of psychosis in people with PD, with different studies placing the occurrence between 25-70% of people with Parkinsons. Typically, if the person with PD only has these minor hallucinations, their doctor will not prescribe an antipsychotic medication, though more significant psychosis that requires medication may develop over time. In one study, 10% of those with minor hallucinations had their symptoms resolved within a few years, while 52% saw their symptoms remain the same and 38% saw their psychosis symptoms get worse.

We recommend that people with Parkinsons not use a single percentage to represent the prevalence of hallucinations and PDP. Parkinsons is a complex disease and as it progresses the percentages and risk of symptoms will change.

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Coping With Cognitive Changes

Some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease also may be used to treat the cognitive symptoms of LBD. These drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, act on a chemical in the brain that is important for memory and thinking. They may also improve hallucinations, apathy, and delusions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved one Alzheimer’s drug, rivastigmine, to treat cognitive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease dementia. Several other drugs are being tested as possible treatments for LBD symptoms or to disrupt the underlying disease process.

Challenges You As A Caregiver Are Likely To Face

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There are challenges that a person with Parkinson’s disease confronts. First, the disease can vary from day to day. There will be times when they can function almost normally and then other times when they will be very dependent. This is a natural part of the disease. But it can make a caregiver feel that the person is being unnecessarily demanding or manipulative. Keep in mind that Parkinson’s is unpredictable and each day can pose new challenges for you and your loved one.

Also, keep in mind that Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder. While medications and surgery can provide significant relief of symptoms, they do not stop the progression of the disease.

Depression is also very much a part of the disease. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression so you can help your loved one seek treatment promptly. And, if you are feeling depressed and having trouble coping, it’s just as important to get care for yourself.

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Recognize Triggers For Difficult Behavior And Stay Calm

If the delusions someone with dementia experiences are severe and may put them or you, the caregiver, at possible risk or harm, it is best to speak to a doctor to see if some medication may be needed.6

A person with dementia can be susceptible to depression, anxiety, agitation, hallucinations, aggression, and loss of inhibition.7 While anxiety and depression issues may need to be dealt with the help of a trained mental health professional, the other behavior may have to be managed by you. You can cope with difficult behavior like aggression by:8

  • Identifying triggers for the behavior to see if they can be fixed. Pain can often be the cause for the unusual behavior.
  • Staying calm.
  • Not taking the behavior personally. It is not directed at you, but just an expression of the emotions or confusion the patient is experiencing. This may be especially hard to do if the dementia has made them suspicious and theyre accusing you of things like theft, infidelity, or inappropriate behavior.
  • Avoiding arguments and confrontation.
  • Accepting this as a symptom of the illness as you would any other symptom of a disease.

Tips On How To Care For Someone With Dementia

With one person in the world developing dementia every 3 seconds and an estimated 50 million or more people living with the condition globally, dementia is a very real problem.1 Getting the right care is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life for those coping with this problem. To add to it, dementia doesnt just affect the individual but also those around them. Navigating what can sometimes be a very emotional and difficult path may seem daunting, but there are some ways to make it easier. What follows is a look at how to care for someone with dementia, ways to keep them happier, and for you to cope too.

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Do Try And Identify The Trigger That Causes Behavior Change

After spending some time with a patient who has dementia, caregivers may be in a position to identify some of the things that make dementia sufferers yell, get physical, or change their mood. For some, it may be something simple such as taking a bath or even getting dressed.

The best approach to handle this is not to force the patient to do something that they do not want to do. Try and distract them with something else that allows them to relax and calm down. Once they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, try going back to the subject, but this time reassuringly and calmly.

Risk Factors For Psychosis

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Not everyone with Parkinsons will develop hallucinations or delusions, but there are several things can increase your risk:

  • Dementia or impaired memory
  • Depression: Individuals suffering from depression and PD are at a greater risk. In addition, severe depression alone can cause psychosis.
  • Sleep disorders, such as vivid dreaming. Individuals commonly report vivid dreaming prior to the onset of psychosis. Other associated sleep disturbances include REM sleep disorder and general insomnia.
  • Impaired vision
  • Use of PD medications

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Do Not Engage In Arguments

One of the worst things a person can do to an individual who has dementia is to start an argument or even force them to do something that makes them upset or angry. When the discussion or argument is too heated, it may be better to walk away to create an environment where everyone can remain calm. Experts agree that one of the ways that can yield results when it comes to dementia behavior problems is to get rid of the word no when dealing with patients. Avoid forcibly restraining a dementia sufferer at all costs.

How Can We Manage Hallucinations

It may not be necessary to treat all hallucinations of a person with PDD. Hallucinations are often harmless, and it is okay to allow them to happen, as long as they are not disruptive or upsetting to the person or surroundings. Sometimes, recognizing the hallucination and then switching the topic might be an efficient way of handling frustrations that occur because of a hallucination. If hallucinations need medical treatment, your provider may be able to discuss and suggest some options. However, many of the medications used to treat hallucinations may make movement symptoms worse.

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Keep Up Social Connections Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Help

Things like music therapy or just playing some pleasing, quiet music, a massage, or exercise can help the mood and behavior of some people with dementia. Unfortunately, the research on these alternative therapies is not far-reaching enough to suggest them as treatment or therapy for dementia patients, but you could see if these work for your loved one.11

Encourage people to visit and meet with the patient. Sometimes the embarrassment or fear of others seeing the changed behavior, personality, and memory of the individual can be discouraging when it comes to having visitors. Overcome this, because these relationships are crucial. Keep up their routines and hobbies and interests as much as possible. If they were a weekly church-goer, go to church with them. If they liked walking in the park every evening, they should continue to do so, but with someone to help them if they forget their way home. Keep up as much of a semblance of normalcy as you can. As one study found, the impact this can have is huge! Researchers found that dementia patients who indulged in as little as 60 minutes of conversation every week which translates to an average of 8.5 minutes a day saw reduced agitation levels. This also cut down the perception of pain they were living with.12

Tips For Living With Hallucinations

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It is important for people with PD to talk about hallucinations with their family and care team, because they are manageable and can be troublesome if not treated. Discuss all possible symptoms with your doctor, no matter how minor, rare or bizarre you may think they are.

  • Good lighting and stimulating activities in the evening can help keep hallucinations at bay.
  • While a hallucination is occurring, caregivers can help their loved one by reassuring them that they will be safe and validating their partners experience. For example, say, Ill take the cat outside instead of arguing that there is no cat.

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How Is Parkinson’s Managed

There is currently no cure for Parkinsons but there are medications and therapies that can help to manage Parkinsons symptoms.

Medicines that increase the level of dopamine in the brain are the main treatment used to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Medicines are tailored to each individuals needs.

Symptoms will get worse when someones Parkinsons medicines are wearing off and improve again after Parkinsons medicines are taken. If people with Parkinsons dont get their medication at the right time, it leads to their motor symptoms becoming uncontrolled. It can take some time to get their symptoms under control again. If you work in a hospital or care home, it is important to be aware that medicine timings will vary from person to person and may be different to ward medicine rounds.

As well as medicines, surgical options are available for some people with Parkinson’s, depending on their symptoms.

Treatments can help to manage the symptoms, but may become less effective in the later stages of the condition.

Parkinsons UK has more information on how Parkinsons affects people and how it can be managed.

Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient

Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.

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Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else

Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.

Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.

Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias

Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:

Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.

Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.

Take Prebiotics And Probiotics

Music therapy helping Parkinsons and dementia patients ...

Gut dysbiosis plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of Parkinsons disease. Accordingly, probiotics have the potential to help with onset of the disease, as well as management of its symptoms. A combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, L. reuteri, and L. fermentum has been found to relieve constipation, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve antioxidant status in people with PD, thus correcting several of the characteristic features of the disease.

Prebiotics, fermentable fibers that feed beneficial gut bacteria, may be another useful intervention for preventing Parkinsons disease. FOS and GOS, two types of prebiotic fibers, increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein important for neuronal protection, survival, and plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is abnormally low in Parkinsons disease patients boosting its levels may have neuroprotective effects.

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Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia

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A caregiver, sometimes referred to as a caretaker, refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Millions of people living in the United States take care of a friend or family member with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the person or nearby, other times they live far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia isnt just one persons job, but the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. No matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can be overwhelming at times. These tips and suggestions may help with everyday care and tasks.

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