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Actor Alan Alda Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease – What Is It?

August 10th, 2018

By: Linda Kunicki

Beloved actor Alan Alda, age 82, recently revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Alda is probably best known for playing Hawkeye Pierce, a doctor on the comedy M*A*S*H. Alda spent years making Americans laugh even though the setting of the show was quite serious, a mobile hospital in the Korean war. Today, Alda faces his own serious situation, but is still finding ways to inspire others. When asked about his condition on the CBS This Morning, Alda advised people with Parkinson’s disease to “Keep moving!” 

For family members of older adults who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may be wondering if it really is possible to just “keep moving” forward and enjoying life. Understanding more about the disease can help you to plan for a full life for your aging family member, but one that will also have its challenges.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects the nervous system, impacting bodily movements. Usually, symptoms come on slowly over years, meaning it’s possible for someone to have the disease for a while without knowing it. 

Parkinson’s disease is somewhat unpredictable in that one person may experience it differently from the next. Although not everyone will have the same symptoms, some of the symptoms your aging relative with Parkinson’s may experience are:

  • Tremor: A shaking motion may develop in one limb. Often, it appears in the fingers or hand. Or, you might notice a motion called “pill rolling” in which the older adult repeatedly rubs their fingers together in a back and forth motion. Tremors usually happen when the limb is at rest.
  • Bradykinesia: People with Parkinson’s may move more slowly than normal. This can make it hard to do everyday tasks and may make them take a lot longer than usual. Family members might notice that the person’s steps are shorter, and they shuffle their feet.
  • Changes in Posture or Balance: Older adults with the disease sometimes develop a distinctive stooped posture. They can also have difficulty with balance.
  • Automatic Movement Problems: Automatic movements, like blinking, smiling, or arm swinging while walking may become diminished.
  • Changes in Speech: The voice may become softer and words may be slurred. The older adult may also speak with little inflection.

Help for People with Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is progressive and has no cure. Though Alda’s advice to continue moving forward with life is certainly sound, eventually your loved one will need more assistance. Home care is an excellent way to help them live at home and remain independent for as long as possible. Home care providers can assist with activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, and eating. Home care providers can also help with household tasks, such as cleaning, preparing meals, and doing laundry.

Sources
https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/celebrities/info-2018/alan-alda-parkinsons-disease-reveal.html?intcmp=AE-HP-TTN-R3-POS4-REALPOSS-TODAY
http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HIRING HOME CARE SERVICES IN RIVER FOREST, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.