Can an Older Adult’s Personality Be Altered by Parkinson’s?

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) has the potential to contribute to changes in mood as the condition progresses. According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, these changes could extend to personality as well due to the way the condition affects the brain. PD also contributes to other neurological effects that may play a role in personality shifts. Keep reading to learn more about personality changes related to Parkinson’s and how your senior loved one with this condition may be affected.

PD-Related Depression Can Affect Personality

Up to 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease experience depression. This can be more noticeable if you have a loved one with PD who is normally positive and optimistic. Depression related to PD may result in personality changes such as: • Persistent sad feelings • Loss of interest in favorite activities or hobbies • Restlessness and/or irritability • Feelings of hopelessness Personality issues of this nature may be managed with antidepressants, psychological counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Exercise can also have a positive impact on mood by boosting the production of hormones that naturally counteract depression and anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders Can Affect Personality as Well

Anxiety is also experienced in anywhere from 25 to 45 percent of those with Parkinson’s, according to various estimates. Such disorders are typically characterized by excessive nervousness. Your loved one may also be increasingly irritable or have difficulty concentrating on various activities and everyday conversations. Some seniors develop this issue after receiving an initial diagnosis, or it may develop as symptoms have more of an impact on daily life. Treatment often involves a combination of medication, counseling, and relaxation techniques. At some point, your loved one may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

PD-Related Executive Dysfunction Is Another Possible Factor

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), what’s termed “executive dysfunction” may be present during the early stages of PD. If your loved one experiences this issue as a result of having Parkinson’s, personality changes may involve: • Emotional difficulties • Noticeable changes in mood • Difficulty handling challenging tasks • Sudden frustration If it’s suspected your loved one has executive dysfunction related to PD, a psychological evaluation may be required. Such changes may not be entirely treatable, although coping techniques and counseling might help. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to handle, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Palm Beach Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Can Also Affect Personality

About a year after diagnosis, some people with Parkinson’s develop Parkinson’s disease dementia, which causes a decrease in cognitive skills and reasoning ability. Seniors with this side effect of PD often experience noticeable personality changes similar to those seen with other types of dementia. The brain cell damage that contributes to PD-related dementia isn’t reversible. Medication may be beneficial, but it’s often a trial-and-error process to find the right mix of medications to address symptoms.

Personality Changes Are Sometimes Subtle

Every senior with PD experiences a unique mix of symptoms and challenges over time. For this reason, your loved one may experience subtle personality changes instead of ones that come on suddenly. However, these changes may become more noticeable during the later stages of Parkinson’s. Be as observant as possible, and discuss any concerns you may have about personality issues with your loved one’s doctor. Many seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can continue to live at home, but they’ll most likely need assistance from family members or other caregivers to do so safely. For many seniors in Palm Beach, FL, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. If you need compassionate, professional home care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (561) 429-8292.


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