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Gauging Parkinson’s Disease Impact on Smell & Taste

At Home Care Assistance of Columbus, we understand that caring for your spouse or aging loved with Parkinson’s can be a very daunting task. You take on a role of support, helping your loved one navigate their way through this debilitating disease. Although Parkinson’s is widely known to cause dramatic changes in physical and cognitive abilities, many people overlook secondary symptoms of the disease like loss of smell and taste.

Understanding Sensory Loss among Parkinson’s Patients

Did you know that Parkinson’s patients often experience a decline in their sense of smell and taste before primary symptoms of the disease even begin? Often overlooked, this sensory loss often persists after the official diagnosis, making the care of a senior with Parkinson’s even more complex. Parkinson’s patients often experience damage to their smell nerves and the parts of the brain where those cues are received. Flavor comes primarily through how we perceive food through our nose, and our taste buds and our tongue merely detect sweetness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness. If smell is lost, food can often taste foreign and even nauseating to the individual.

Common Issues that Occur when Taste & Smell Decline

As mentioned above, when the sense of smell is lost, food can become off-putting and seniors may shy away from eating proper meals throughout the day. It is important to identify any sensory loss and to modify the senior’s diet to ensure that they are still consuming the appropriate levels of vitamins and nutrients. This can help prevent additional problems such as malnutrition which can further exacerbate symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Determining if Your Loved One Needs Help

In order to know whether your loved one has lost their sense of smell and taste, gauge their ability to smell and taste common foods. For example, does your loved one have trouble identifying the scent of common foods like fruits, pickles or other candies and sweets that have distinct scents? Also, keep an eye out for changes in eating behavior. Has your loved one started to skip meals? Have you notice a decrease in appetite? Are they no longer eating their favorite foods? These situations could all point to changes in smell and taste.

Seeking Outside Assistance

Be sure to notify your loved one’s doctor if any or all of these symptoms are identified. They will be able to further examine the problem and can provide information on how to best move forward. As the disease progresses and symptoms worsen, the doctor may also recommend therapy or in-home help from a trained Parkinson’s caregiver in Columbus. These professionals can help ensure the senior’s safety at home and can assist with daily activities such as grocery shopping, nutritious meal preparation, medication reminders, and much more.

For more information about in-home care services for seniors with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Columbus. Offering hourly and live-in home care in Columbus, our clients have the freedom to choose the level and type of care that best meets their needs. Call 614-481-888 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a devoted Care Manager.