Idiopathic Parkinson’s is the most common form of this disease. In fact, about 80 to 85 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have this type. It does respond well to medication, including drugs that increase amounts of neurotransmitters in the brain known as dopamine molecules. This is good news, but you may still have questions about the life expectancy for a senior loved one with idiopathic Parkinson’s.
There’s No Clear Answer
First of all, there’s no simple formula for determining how long a senior with the most common form of Parkinson’s will live. There’s no way to pinpoint how a chronic disease will progress, how the body will be affected, or what health-related complications may develop. Statistically, individuals with PD have a slightly shorter life span than those who don’t have this neurodegenerative disorder, but there are many factors that could affect life expectancy in seniors with PD, including:
• The age at which the diagnosis is made
• The senior’s overall health and wellbeing
• The individual’s response to medication and other symptom management efforts
The Disease’s Progression Varies Among Individuals
Idiopathic Parkinson’s tends to produce “classic” PD symptoms, such as tremors, reduced mobility, speech impairment, fatigue, memory problems, sleep disorders, and difficulty with the sense of smell. During the later stages of the disease, a senior may have a decreased vocal tone, a mask-like facial expression, poor posture, and difficulty walking.
The progression of these symptoms can vary greatly among seniors with idiopathic Parkinson’s. That being said, the condition will eventually get worse over time. For example, tremors tend to reach a point where quality of daily life is significantly affected, and an increase in bradykinesia (slowness of movement) can have a similar impact.
Mobility limitations and other safety issues in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease can make caring for seniors 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. Des Moines, IA, 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.
Idiopathic Parkinson’s Isn’t Fatal
Actually, no form of Parkinson’s is considered fatal. It’s often problems related to the severity of PD symptoms that contribute to complications that could present serious risks. For example, issues with movement, coordination, and balance may contribute to:
• An increased risk of falling
• Fractured bones or joints caused by falls
• Underlying conditions such as arthritis or spine-related problems
Another complication associated with idiopathic Parkinson’s is difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), which is problematic because it can develop at any time, not just during the later stages of PD. Dysphagia could result in a type of lung infection called aspiration pneumonia, which is a leading cause of death in people with Parkinson’s.
An in-home caregiver can be a fantastic asset for a senior with Parkinson’s. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide elderly home care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
Lifestyle Factors Can Affect Functionality and Longevity
Overall, life expectancy for seniors with Parkinson’s disease has increased over the past few decades because of advances in methods of treatment and care. There are also many lifestyle factors that can play a role in life expectancy. You may be able to help your loved one get as much as possible out of life by:
• Encouraging regular exercise
• Paying attention to changes in the severity of symptoms
• Serving healthy meals
• Creating a safe home environment by minimizing potential fall hazards
• Being proactive about treatment and therapy if potentially troublesome issues are noticed, such as difficulty with swallowing
A professional caregiver 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 Des Moines in-home care 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. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (515) 264-2438 today.