How Does Parkinson’s Disease Affect Seniors Physically?

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Parkinson’s Disease Affect Seniors Physically

Parkinson’s disease can have an extreme impact on the physical aspects of your aging loved one’s life. While early symptoms may be mild, late-stage Parkinson’s could significantly affect his or her quality of life. Here are some common physical effects of Parkinson’s disease. 

Muscle Rigidity

Muscle rigidity causes stiff muscles, balance impairment, difficulty walking, problems with body movements, and coordination issues. It can also cause slowness when moving, a shuffling gait, and spastic or involuntary movements of the arms and legs. Muscle rigidity can also cause significant pain, especially upon awakening in the morning. 

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable senior care. Families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.


Involuntary tremors in the hands and legs are also common with Parkinson’s. The tremors may worsen when sitting. However, for some seniors, tremors are worse when standing. In addition to having tremors in the extremities, people with Parkinson’s often experience head shaking. Voice changes or vocal shakiness may also accompany tremors. Your loved one’s doctor may prescribe the beta blocker propranolol to manage tremors. Possible side effects of this medication include low blood pressure, dry mouth, fatigue, and exercise intolerance. 

Urinary & Bowel Incontinence

Seniors with Parkinson’s may experience urinary leaking and be unable to sense when their bladders are full. Your loved one’s doctor may prescribe an antispasmodic or anticholinergic medication to prevent bladder spasms and involuntary urinary leakage. 

To further prevent urinary problems, caffeinated foods and drinks should be avoided, and fluids should be stopped a couple of hours before bedtime so your loved one doesn’t have an incontinence episode in bed. 

If incontinence persists despite lifestyle changes and medical intervention, make sure your loved one wears adult incontinence briefs in public to prevent embarrassment. While not as common as urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence can also occur in those with Parkinson’s disease, and this may be caused by anal sphincter dysfunction or gastrointestinal nerve damage. 

Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional home care. Arlington seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Facial Expression Changes 

People with Parkinson’s disease often exhibit a condition known as mask-like facies, which refers to a loss of facial expressiveness, and in some people, this condition makes the face resemble a mask. It’s caused by muscle weakness or paralysis and makes the person’s face look expressionless. While little can be done to reverse this condition, strengthening exercises for the facial muscles may help seniors look more natural. 

If your loved one experiences self-confidence issues as a result of mask-like facies, talk to a neurologist about participating in a clinical trial. If no neurologists are available in your area, the doctor may be able to refer your loved one to a specialist at a research or teaching hospital that offers new experimental treatments. 

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, an Arlington in-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (703) 988-1800 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.