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Elder Care Awareness: Understanding Bradykinesia

June 2nd, 2016

Elder Care in Stuart FL

Elder Care in Stuart FLApproximately one million people throughout the United States are currently living with Parkinson's disease and another 60,000 new cases of the diseases are expected to be diagnosed throughout the country each year. More than 95 percent of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50 and the risk of developing the disease increases with age. If you are caring for an aging parent who is dealing with Parkinson's disease and are attempting to coordinate effective elder care to help your loved one manage this condition, it is important that you are aware of potential symptoms and how to handle them.

One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's disease is known as bradykinesia. Though many people immediately think of tremors and involuntary movements as the tell-tale signs of Parkinson's disease, this reduction of movement is actually just as or even more common in many people suffering from PD.

Characteristics of bradykinesia include:

  • Slowing of movements
  • Reduction of spontaneous movements
  • Periods of unusual stillness
  • Reduction in facial expressions or seeming lack of facial expressions when talking or responding to what is going on around them
  • Challenges with repetitive movements
  • Difficulty performing basic daily tasks such as zipping a zipper, buttoning a button, or brushing teeth
  • Walking at a slow pace
  • Walking with a shuffling gait
  • Limited range of motion
  • Softer speech
  • Slower rate of speech
  • There are several effects of Parkinson's disease that can contribute to the instance of bradykinesia. These include:

Muscle weakness. Some studies have indicated that adults with Parkinson's disease tend to have lower muscle strength than those of the same age and general health outside of the PD. This can mean that it is more difficult for your parent to move their muscle groups effectively.

Rigidity. Another common feature of Parkinson's disease is rigidity throughout the body. This can cause sudden flexing in the muscles and difficulty moving. The slowed movements of bradykinesia can occur before and after these periods.

Movement control. There are some situations in which the slowed movements of a person with Parkinson's disease are an actual conscious choice on the part of the senior. This is because people with PD tend to experience involuntary movements as well as greater difficulty with accuracy. This means that they may not be able to perform a motion as precisely as they would like to because of their difficulty with control. The faster that you move, the less likely you are to be accurate, so some seniors purposely choose to move more slowly in an effort to improve their accuracy and precision in movement.

Bradyphrenia. Seniors with Parkinson's disease may not just experience slowing of movements in the body. They can also experience slowed thinking. This can impact their reaction time as well as the actual response of the body. Some experts believe that this slowing of thought means that the body will respond equally as slowly, performing the task that the brain triggered, but at a reduced rate of speed in accordance with the rate of thought. This, however, is still hotly debated and not all doctors agree with this assertion.

http://www.pdf.org/en/parkinson_statistics

http://www.pdf.org/symptoms_primary

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/124/11/2131

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20028488

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Stuart FL contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.

Topics: Senior Care