9 Facts About Parkinson’s Disease

 April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. As a member of the Struthers Parkinson's Care Network, Walker Methodist is working to provide better staff education and improve care for our residents living with PD.


  1. Approximately 1 million Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, 2nd only to Alzheimer’s, impacting 1 in 100 over age 60 and 2 in 100 over age 70.
  2. The cause of PD is unknown. Parkinson’s has no known cure, and treatments include medications, surgery and Rehab therapies.
  3. People with PD require a steady supply of dopamine in order to move and feel better.  For some people, receiving their pills even 15 minutes late can affect their ability to function well each day. Pills on time is so important.
  4. Parkinson’s disease causes loss of automatic movements, things that we do each day without thinking about it.  People with Parkinson’s blink their eyes less frequently and may have less facial expression.  This can make someone appear confused, depressed or disinterested in their surroundings, even when that is not the case.
  5. A resident with Parkinson’s may move much better at some times of the day than others.  This is due to their medication levels, is not under their control, and is called on/off cycling. 
  6. Parkinson’s disease often causes someone to move and think more slowly.  Trying to hurry or rush can make this problem even worse.  The gift of time is the most important gift you can give these residents!
  7. Parkinson’s disease causes slowness, muscle stiffness, and changes in posture and balance.  Regular movement and exercise can help residents with Parkinson’s move and feel better! Deep breathing and practice speaking in a louder voice can also be helpful.
  8. Parkinson’s disease often causes balance changes, making these residents a high fall risk.  Remember to place items within easy reach, and offer assistance to bathroom.  Assist transfers and walking as needed, providing reminders to take large steps when moving.  Avoid distractions, allowing the resident to focus on the task at hand. 
  9. What do singer Neil Diamond and actor Michael J Fox have in common?  They are living with Parkinson’s disease, a disease that destroys a group of brain cells producing the chemical dopamine. 


Topics: Care and Programs

Shelli Bakken

Written by Shelli Bakken

Shelli is the Director of Support Services at Walker Methodist.

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