Seniors and Parkinson's Disease


Photo Credit: Cardinal Institute for Health Careers

Did you know that Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is known as ‘an older person’s disease’? Parkisnonsdisease.net shares in the article, Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly:

“Parkinson’s disease (PD) is known as an older person’s disease, as it is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 60 (only 5% of all cases are diagnosed before the age of 60). PD is the second most common age-related nerve degenerating disease after Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence of PD is 1% of the population over the age of 60, and this increases to 5% of the population over the age of 85, illustrating that aging is the biggest risk factor for developing PD.”[1]


Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. The National Institute for Health has reported, “PD affects 50% more men than women” and the National Parkinson Foundation states, “approximately 60,000 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year.”[2]


Parkinson’s normally begins with:

· A slight hand tremor

· Slow movement

· Stiffness

· Loss of balance

· Frozen facial expressions


These symptoms can be easily confused with other age-related issues. Therefore, misdiagnosis can happen. However, these symptoms don’t automatically mean the individual has Parkinson’s either.


How is Parkinson’s diagnosed? According to the website, Michaeljfox.org (a PD sufferer):

“There is no objective test (such as a blood test, brain scan or EEG) to make a definitive diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Instead, a doctor takes a careful medical history and performs a thorough neurological examination, looking in particular for two or more of the cardinal signs to be present. Frequently, the doctor will also look for responsiveness to Parkinson's disease medications as further evidence that Parkinson's is the correct diagnosis.”[3]



Photo Credit in References

Once diagnosed with PD, there are certain steps an elderly person can take to live safely within their home.


· Weighted utensils or ones with special handles

· Avoid space heaters

· Avoid electric blankets

· Look for lamps which can be turned on with one touch or by sound

· Use phones and keyboards with large buttons

· Install hand rails

· Sit chairs with straight backs and firm arm handles to assist when getting up

· Elevated toilet seats or hand rails throughout bathroom[4]

· Hire a Personal Care Aide


Even the Veterans Health Administration has noticed the rise in PD cases in Veterans and has established the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECCs) in 6 cities throughout the United States. The establishment of the network is to support the centers, which are currently located in Portland/Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Richmond, and Philadelphia. The objective of each center is, “to deliver state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative research, with outreach and education programs to their surrounding region’ to the 40,000 cases of PD patients seen each year.



Photo Credit in References

In 2003, the VA established the National VA Parkinson’s Disease consortium with the mission “to support the provision of optimal care for veterans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders through professional education, collaboration and advocacy.” To learn more about the consortium visit:

https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/PARKINSONS/Consortium/index.asp


Parkinson’s Disease can be debilitating with progression, yet, continuing to focus on the best quality of life for the individual is the optimum goal.


REFERENCES:

Reference: Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly

Accessed at: https://parkinsonsdisease.net/elderly-population/

Accessed on: August 4, 2018


Reference: Parkinson’s Disease

Accessed at: https://www.gstatic.com/healthricherkp/pdf/parkinson_s_disease.pdf

Accessed on: August 4, 2018


Reference: Parkinson’s Diagnosis Questions

Accessed at: https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/i-have-got-what.php

Accessed on: August 4, 2018


Reference: Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly

Accessed at: https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/parkinsons-disease-in-the-elderly

Accessed on: August 4, 2018


Reference: Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers

Accessed at: https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/New_Front_Page.asp

Accessed on: August 4, 2018


Reference Photo One: Parkinson’s Disease Infographic

Created by: Cardinal Institute for Health Careers

Accessed on August 3, 2018


Reference Photo Two: Parkinson Infographic

Accessed at: https://www.slideshare.net/tiendao13/parkinsons-disease-case-study-70033042

Accessed on August 3, 2018


Reference Photo Three: Parkinson’s Resource Map

Created by: https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/New_Front_Page.asp

Accessed on August 3, 2018


Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of the Cardinal Institute for Health Career’s blog is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

[1] https://parkinsonsdisease.net/elderly-population/


[2] https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/parkinsons-disease-in-the-elderly


[3] https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/i-have-got-what.php


[4] https://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/guide/parkinsons-home-safety#3

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