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Understanding the Emotional Effects of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional health and wellbeing. While seniors with PD and their family members tend to be most concerned with the physical effects of this disease, it is also vital to pay attention to mood and behavioral changes. Giving PD patients adequate emotional support is an important part of ensuring a high quality of life.

Depression and Apathy

PD largely affects the production and distribution of dopamine, which holds an important role as a mood-elevating chemical among other things. A gradual decline in the availability of dopamine is an inevitable development in seniors with PD. Thus, it isn’t surprising that many seniors who have PD experience regular and often prolonged bouts of depression. In fact, depression is usually one of the first and most noticeable symptoms exhibited before official diagnosis and treatment.

Apathy is also a common development. A senior with Parkinson’s might seem lazy, unmotivated, or all-around uncaring. This, however, is not a purposeful behavior, nor is it one that seniors with PD can control. In-home caregivers can help their loved ones fight against feelings of apathy and depression by helping them maintain active social lives and regularly encouraging them to engage in physical exercise. Putting the body in motion, taking part in organized activities, and meeting up with friends are all simple yet effective ways to boost mood.

Anxiety

While apathy and depression tend to have physiological causes, anxiety is caused by the overwhelming symptoms of this progressive disease. After being diagnosed, many seniors struggle with fears of losing their independence, becoming a burden on family members, or suffering injuries while alone. As a caregiver, it is important to make seniors with PD feel valued, appreciated and well worth the assistance that they’ll gradually start to require. It is also important to show senior family members that there are many alternate ways of getting things done once mobility and fine motor control begin to decline. Learning how to overcome the challenges that this disease presents helps restore a sense of autonomy and control that will limit anxiety.

Loneliness

Changes in mobility, loss of driving privileges, and other developments can lead to isolation. When seniors have opted to age in place, it may be best to take advantage of the companionship care that many Albuquerque home care agencies provide. Seniors need regular social stimulation in order to maintain optimal levels of physical and emotional health. It is also important to note that seniors with PD may close themselves off from others as changes in mobility and appearance lead to a sense of embarrassment. Offering positive affirmations and helping your loved one regularly connect with close friends will keep loneliness and the depression it causes at bay.

After a Parkinson’s diagnosis, the future can feel uncertain. However, you, your loved one, and your family don’t have to move forward alone. Turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Parkinson’s care in Albuquerque, to help meet the physical and emotional symptoms accompanying Parkinson’s. Our caregivers are expertly trained, dedicated Care Managers are available 24/7, and all our care services are backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn more, call our office at 505-798-0800 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.