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What are the 5 Stages of Parkinson’s

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Support for Better Quality of Life

Memory support is often referred to as Alzheimer’s care. But Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not the only conditions that can benefit from the services available through memory support.

Memory and cognitive decline can be symptoms of many health problems, including Parkinson’s disease. Progressive brain disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, can present care challenges. Offering appropriate care for specific stages and related health needs can help older adults enjoy a better quality of life.

The Hoehn & Yahr Scale

The Hoehn and Yahr rating scale for Parkinson’s disease was first developed in 1967. The original scale focused on the movement symptoms of the disease. Although physical symptoms are a distinctive characteristic of Parkinson’s, there are also notable symptoms of cognitive impairment.

The scale has been updated to include additional stages, as the early stages of Parkinson’s can sometimes feature crossover symptoms. For example, tremors and walking changes can occur in stages 1 or 2. So, stages 1.5 and 2.5 were introduced to represent intermediate stages.

Unfortunately, the Hoehn and Yahr rating scale doesn’t include emotional or mental health symptoms. It also doesn’t describe how Parkinson’s affects memory or thinking skills.

The MDS-UPDRS

The MDS-Unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale (MDS-UPDRS) was developed to include non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Patients or caregivers rate symptoms (such as mood changes, sleep problems, or intellectual skills) on a scale of 0–4.

The scale doesn’t equate to stages. Instead, it provides caregivers and doctors with a better understanding of the individual’s experience and medical needs.

The 5 Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

There are 5 stages of Parkinson’s disease according to the Hoehn and Yarh scale. Individuals can fit into multiple stages as every individual has a unique experience.

Stage 1

A person experiencing the initial stage of Parkinson’s may have few or mild symptoms. Typically, their symptoms are unilateral (affecting only one side of their body). For example, they may have a resting tremor in their left hand but not their right.

Stage one can include some movement symptoms, including changes in their facial expressions. However, the symptoms do not affect their ability to live independently.

Stage 1.5

Stage 1.5 has the same characteristics as the first stage but with the addition of axial movement symptoms. Axial symptoms, or axial rigidity, can interfere with posture and stability. Although the symptoms in stage 1.5 are mild, they can affect the hips, ankles, neck, and torso.

Axial rigidity can change a person’s walking gait. Someone experiencing stage 1.5 may also develop early symptoms of speech or voice impairment (dysarthria). However, they are still able to take care of themselves.

Moderate symptoms in stage 2 are typically more noticeable. Tremors, movement problems, and muscle stuffiness can make daily tasks more difficult. Symptoms affect both sides of the body, but one side may exhibit fewer symptoms. Typically, symptoms don’t impair balance or reflexes.

A person with moderate symptoms can still live alone but may need some assistance to complete physical tasks comfortably. Caregivers may assist with labor-intensive chores.

Stage 2

Moderate symptoms in stage 2 are typically more noticeable. Tremors, movement problems, and muscle stuffiness can make daily tasks more difficult. Symptoms affect both sides of the body, but one side may exhibit fewer symptoms. Typically, symptoms don’t impair balance or reflexes.

A person with moderate symptoms can still live alone but may need some assistance to complete physical tasks comfortably. Caregivers may assist with labor-intensive chores.

Stage 2.5

Individuals may develop some difficulties with balance but with the ability to recover. Stage 2.5 accounts for adults with primarily moderate symptoms but experience more problems with reflexes. The individual may also begin to experience symptoms equally on both sides.

Stage 3

In stage 3, Parkinson’s impairs both sides equally. It’s considered the middle stage, as it marks significant changes in how the disease impacts a person’s life. While stage 3 can share many symptoms with stage 2, movements are slower, and impairments are more likely to lead to injuries or falls.

Symptoms can begin to cause challenges with essential activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, eating, and personal hygiene. Caregivers must provide support for many physical tasks. However, people with stage 3 Parkinson’s disease may be able to complete some tasks slowly and with difficulty.

Stage 4

Stage 4 symptoms can be severe. For example, they may experience increased rigidity, muscle cramping, and tremors. As a result, the person needs full-time support for activities of daily living (ADLs) and cannot live alone. Notably, a person with stage 4 Parkinson’s may be able to stand without aid. Still, they typically require mobility support, such as a walker.

Stage 5

The final stage of Parkinson’s significantly impairs mobility and motor function. Some adults with Parkinson’s may be bedridden or require a wheelchair. They need 24-hour care.

As it’s the most advanced stage, it’s also when individuals are most likely to experience hallucinations and delusions. Notably, Parkinson’s disease dementia can develop as early as one year after diagnosis. However, people in the advanced stage are more likely to experience a decline in reasoning and thinking skills.

Studies have found that 30% of people with Parkinson’s will develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) 5 years after diagnosis. After living with Parkinson’s for 10 years, 75% of people develop dementia.

Support for Later Stages

When individuals develop stage 4 or 5 symptoms, it can be challenging to live comfortably without support. They deserve an environment where they feel respected, comfortable, and safe.

Our friendly and specialized communities in New Jersey can offer seniors engaging activities with personalized care. Our Fox Trail Memory Care staff is dedicated to helping your loved ones feel at home. Memory care can provide individuals with Parkinson’s the support they need at any stage.

Contact us today to learn more about our communities and services.

Written by adminfoxtrail

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