Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects the entire body. It slowly worsens over time, and there’s no cure for the disease. Parkinson’s disease doesn’t cause death, but it can cause complications that may lead to death.
Life Expectancy of Those with Parkinson’s Disease
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease typically have the same average life expectancy as those without the condition. It’s often said that people with the disease die with it rather than from it. Seniors who are in good health at the time of diagnosis and those who are diagnosed with the disease at a later age may experience a longer life than those who are in poor health or are diagnosed at a younger age. Additionally, those with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease may live longer, as this form of the disease typically takes longer to progress.
Mobility limitations and other safety issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for aging loved ones increasingly challenging. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Coral Gables, FL, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Complications of Parkinson’s Disease that May Result in Death
When seniors with Parkinson’s disease reach an advanced stage, they’re more at risk of experiencing complications, such as:
- Chewing difficulties – Seniors who can no longer properly chew their food may swallow a piece that’s too big and choke.
- Swallowing difficulties – Seniors may not be able to swallow their food and could aspirate it into their lungs, resulting in pneumonia. Pneumonia is difficult to treat in people with Parkinson’s disease, as they have difficulty coughing strongly enough to remove excess fluid and mucus from the lung cavity.
- Breathing difficulties – Seniors may not be able to get enough oxygen when breathing, which can lead to suffocation.
- Walking difficulties – As the disease progresses, seniors may have a difficult time moving, which can increase the risk of trips and falls. Falling can lead to traumatic brain injury and hip and rib fractures.
- Depression – Seniors with Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk of depression because they’re no longer able to do many of the things they once loved. If left untreated, depression may lead to suicide.
An in-home caregiver can be a fantastic asset for a senior with Parkinson’s. When considering home care services, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
How to Prevent Complications from Occurring
Increasing longevity in a senior loved one with Parkinson’s disease means preventing complications from occurring. Here are a few key tips:
- Help your loved one eat – Cut up your loved one’s food, use adaptive eating utensils, and take care when feeding him or her. Grapes, nuts, hot dogs, and hard vegetables such as carrots present greater choking hazards than other foods. Consider feeding your loved one soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as yogurt, pudding, and cottage cheese.
- Prevent trips and falls – Make sure walkways are well lit, remove rugs, and tuck cords away behind electronic devices so they don’t lie on walkways. Rails along the walls and in the bathroom can help your loved one prevent falls.
- Look out for depression – Signs of depression include sadness that doesn’t go away, mood swings, feelings of hopelessness and guilt, and changes in sleep and appetite. If your loved one has these symptoms, talk with a doctor about the possibility of depression and seek treatment.
Professional caregivers can be a wonderful source of support for seniors with Parkinson’s who need help with transportation, exercising safely, and completing daily tasks. Families looking for top-rated Coral Gables home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. If you need professional Parkinson’s home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 1 (305) 964-5636.