Help Along the Way…

By Linda Doren

For some of us, cultivating in a community garden or even a leisurely walk through a park may be less than enjoyable and easy. In fact, it may even be difficult. One might say it is hard to imagine not being able to do even the simple things. Not so for those people who are diagnosed with a life threatening illness such as Parkinson’s disease. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be pretty unnerving. In fact, many people avoid going to the doctor to discuss worrisome symptoms that could be one of the early signs of PD. So, what are the “early signs” of Parkinson’s disease?

Here are the ten most common symptoms as provided by the National Parkinson’s Foundation:

1. Loss of sense of smell and taste
2. Trouble sleeping
3. Bowel and bladder problems (constipation, incontinence, etc.)
4. Lack of facial expression (Poker or stone face)
5. Persistent neck pain
6. Slow, cramped handwriting
7. Changes in voice and speech
8. Arm does not swing freely
9. Excessive sweating/perspiring
10. Changes in mood and/or personality

Early detection of PD and prescribed medications can help extend the life expectancy and almost always increase the quality of life. It is not only the patient that suffers with PD but the caregiver as well. Care giving can be exhausting and sometimes it seems there is no help…Oh, but you are never alone. There is “help along the way.”

At Mountain Meadows 55+ Community, we understand the complexities of PD and the stress on the patient and their care givers. We have support groups which meet on a regularly scheduled basis designed to inform and encourage those who find themselves in the throngs of PD. One group is designed for the care giver to suggest ways to work with changes in the patient or loved one and how to mentally be prepared for the challenges. The other group is for the patient themselves. There are exercises and balance classes which help tremendously. You might learn how to fall or roll so you are not injured. The patient gets help understanding what the care giver is going through so there is much better cooperation.

Be aware of the “early signs” of PD and be sure to talk with your doctor. There is no reason to give up your gardening or walks in the park due to the crippling attributes of PD. Detected early, with proper medications from your doctor and with excellent support groups, like the group at Mountain Meadows, Parkinson’s disease does not have to control your life.

…Watch for more on Mountain Meadows 55+ Community.