Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. What this means is that individuals with PD will be living with PD for twenty years or more from the time of diagnosis. While Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, the Center for Disease Control rated complications from the disease as the 14th top cause of death in the United States. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s; however, your doctors will be focused and dedicated to finding treatments that help control the symptoms of PD and have a good quality of life.
Normally, there are brain cells (neurons) in the human brain that producedopamine. These neurons concentrate in a particular area of the brain, called the substantia nigra. Dopamine is a chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain to control movements of the human body. Dopamine helps humans to have smooth coordinated muscle movements. When approximately 60 to 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, and do not produce enough dopamine, the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear. This process of impairment of brain cells is called neurodegeneration.
Four Main Motor Symptoms of PD:
- Shaking or tremor at rest.
- Slowness of movement, calledbradykinesia.
- Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs or trunk.
- Trouble with balance and falls, also called postural instability. Postural instability usually appears later with disease progression and may not be present with initial diagnosis.
Secondary Symptoms of PD May Include:
- Small, cramped handwriting, called micrographia.
- Reduced arm swing on the affected side.
- Slight foot drag on affected side creating a shuffled walk.
- “Freezing”—a term used to describe being “stuck in place” when attempting to walk.
- Loss of facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles, calledhypomimia.
- Low voice volume or muffled speech, called hypophonia.
- Tendency to fall backwards, called retropulsion.
- Decrease ability in automatic reflexes such as blinking and swallowing.
Other Symptoms of PD:
- Anxiety- beyond the normal response to stress
- Hallucinations, psychosis
- Sleep disturbances (vivid dreams, talking and moving during night sleep)
- Increase in dandruff (seaborrhea dermatitis) or oily skin
Weekly 3 p.m. Parkinson’s Support Group at Nelson Gables Governor’s Room; (320) 762-2196.
Douglas County Hospital
First Lutheran Church
4th Wednesday of the month from 3:30-5:00 p.m.
The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota is proud to offer a Respite Care Grant program to provide caregivers with respite so they can take care of themselves while they are caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease.
What is the Respite Care Grant?
This grant is available to individuals who are unable to afford care services on their own and are ineligible for other subsidized programs. Through this program, caregivers may receive financial help in order to take a break from caring for their loved one with Parkinson’s. Currently, the Respite Care Grant is $500 annually per family. Families can use grants to help pay for in-facility or in-home care. Our goal is to provide caregivers an opportunity to take care of personal needs reducing the overall stress related to their caregiving responsibilities.
Why is respite care important?
According to the National Family Caregiving Association:
- 30 percent of caregivers are over age 65
- 17 percent of family caregivers provide more than 40 hours of care per week
- Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely
How to I apply for the Respite Care Grant?
Our goal is to make the application program for this grant as easy as possible. Download, review, and complete the following short forms.
- Respite Care Grant Program Guidelines (PDF, 25KB)
- Respite Care Grant Application (PDF, 26KB)
- Respite Care Grant Diagnosis Statement (PDF, 22KB)
- Respite Care Grant Provider Checklist (PDF, 26KB)
How do I get more information?
Contact our office at (763) 545-1272.
The hospital can be a challenging place for people with Parkinson’s. People with Parkinson’s are admitted to hospitals 50% more than their peers. Once hospitalized, their stays are typically longer as well. Even at the best hospitals, 3 out of 4 Parkinson’s patients don’t receive their medicine on time. Sixty-one percent of Parkinson’s patients who don’t receive their medication on time have serious complications.
Aware in Care Kits make a difference for Parkinson’s patients who have hospital stays. An article from the New York Times details the issues Parkinson’s patients face when confronted with hospital stays. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/hospital-dangers-for-patients-with-parkinsons/?hp