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Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide to Mind & Mood

Parkinson’s, while characterized by a noticeable decline in motor skills, can also take a toll on an individual’s mood and basic thinking behaviors. These behavioral and psychiatric changes, which can be more subtle in nature, are often overlooked and untreated. If you provide care for an aging parent or loved one with Parkinson’s, Columbus Home Care Assistance shares a guide for how to spot some common mind and mood changes in individuals with Parkinson’s disease:

Changes in Mood

Since patients rarely report mood changes to their doctors, it usually takes careful observation to determine that there’s an issue that needs to be brought to the attention of the patient’s doctor, especially since some mood changes may be caused by certain medications. Be sure to watch for and make note of uncharacteristic behaviors of your loved one. You may even want to consider writing down what the behavior was, when it happened and what might have triggered it. Such information can help your doctor determine the causes for the change in mood.

Depression

It’s not unusual for Parkinson’s patients to develop mild to moderate depression. It’s believed that certain neurochemical changes in the brain may be the most common reason for this rather than depression solely associated with having the disease. It can be difficult to determine if a person with Parkinson’s is depressed since muscle stiffness can make it difficult to smile, giving a false impression that a patient is unhappy or sad. It’s often necessary to look for other signs such as extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping and changes in appetite.

Anxiety

Anxiety, unlike depression in Parkinson’s patients, can be caused by embarrassment over how others view their tremors or other noticeable behaviors. Severe anxiety may, in fact, worsen some Parkinson’s symptoms. In some cases, patients may suffer bouts of anxiety when certain medications (usually levodopa or dopamine agonist drugs) start to wear off.

Parkinson’s Dementia

Some people with Parkinson’s eventually exhibit signs of dementia. However, the dementia associated with Parkinson’s is different from the dementia symptoms related to Alzheimer’s. Patients with Parkinson’s dementia, for instance, can still remember new information, but may require verbal cues to recall it.

If you care for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s and feel overwhelmed by your care responsibilities, know that help is available. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elder care that specializes in Parkinson’s home care in Columbus. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers can safely assist your loved one with daily activities and personal care, so you can take the respite you need to rest, relax and recover. To learn more about our highly tailored and customized Parkinson’s care plans, schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager at  614-481-8888.