Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease characterized by changes in movement and posture. It is a progressive illness with symptoms starting from barely noticeable to obvious symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease has a prevalence rate of 0.5-1% in the 65-69 years old population. Its occurrence rises as age progresses and its incidence is second to Alzheimer’s disease. It is seen not only in elderly, but also in people between 21–40 years of age (termed as Early Onset Parkinson’s) and people below 20 years of age (Juvenile Parkinson’s). The onset of Parkinson’s before 50 years of age is termed Young Onset Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is an idiopathic illness, which means that its cause is unknown. The signs and symptoms it presents are caused by the loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called substantia nigra. This part of the brain is responsible for the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that links the brain and nervous system to coordinate body movements. Loss of dopamine results in uncoordinated body movements, thereby producing the signs and symptoms of the disease. Tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia are the triad of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Due to Parkinson’s and its symptoms, elders may experience certain emotional and behavioral disturbances that can be difficult to manage. Some of these could be anger and stubbornness, low mood, impulsive behaviour, hallucinations and delusions.
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s at present, its symptoms can be managed effectively. It is a life altering condition, but it is not life threatening, meaning that the condition itself does not cause death/is not fatal.
Parkinson’s care plan involves psychological interventions, medical therapy, functional independence, safety, preventive measures and improving overall quality of life. Medications, physical and cognitive exercises, a healthy lifestyle and allied therapies have proven to be effective in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s and maintaining the quality of life; making it possible to live independently and productively. As the condition progresses, it is important to visit the doctor regularly so that the condition can be monitored and timely adjustments in medication can be made.
The comprehensive Epoch Parkinson’s Care Program is person centered. It can help in improving the physical and cognitive functions, and also improves the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the person. This care plan includes nutrition management, training in mobility, gait & balance, and aims to build strength & flexibility.
It will include various interventions such as:
Managing behavioral challenges