How Many Stages Are There in Parkinson’s Disease?
March 30, 2017April is National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. This is the ideal opportunity for you to learn about this condition so that you can design a care approach that will help them to manage this condition effectively while also living a lifestyle that is meaningful and fulfilling. One thing that is important to understand is that this is a progressive condition, meaning that it will increase and worsen over time. Though each person who develops Parkinson’s disease will experience the disease in their own personal way, there is a basic set of stages through which the disease progresses. Knowing these stages can help you to feel more prepared to give your parent the care that they will need as they progress. There are five basic stages of Parkinson’s disease that encompass the general patterns of the disease. It is important to note, however, that your loved one might not experience the symptoms in the same order or as intensely as others. The stages of PD include:
- Stage one. The earliest stage of PD, this stage is characterized by mild symptoms that your parent might barely notice or that have little to no impact on their daily functioning. Movement-related symptoms such as tremors are likely to occur only on one side of the body. You might notice that their posture has changed or that they have a compromised gait.
- Stage two. During this stage, the symptoms worsen and become more noticeable. Both sides of the body are likely to be affected by the movement symptoms. Your parent might still be able to live independently, but may need some support and extra time to handle them.
- Stage three. Considered the middle stage of the disease, stage three is when your parent’s symptoms will increase significantly and they will start to require additional support. Your parent will likely experience loss of balance, slowness and increased fall risk. Your parent will still be independent in many ways, they might struggle with activities such as eating, dressing, and cleaning the home.
- Stage four. This stage is an advanced stage of the disease and a point at which the symptoms become severe. They are likely to need a walker or other form of mobility aide. Your parent will be unable to live alone and will need assistance with their activities of daily living including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and keeping up with their home.
- Stage five. The final stage of the disease, this stage is debilitating and characterized by complete dependence on a caregiver or care provider. They will be unable to stand or walk, and may become bedridden. They will need help with all activities and may experience cognitive symptoms such a delusions and hallucinations.