Navigating the Stages of Parkinson’s Disease: What You Need to Know

A green sticky note with Parkinson’s disease written on it illustrates the need to understand the 5 stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Following a diagnosis, it is important for patients and family members to understand the stages of Parkinson’s disease and how to assist with symptoms in each stage.

More prevalent in men, and more prevalent than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease combined, Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 7 – 10 million people globally, with another 600,000 US citizens diagnosed each year. And though each individual’s experience with the disease may differ in severity, there are five stages of progression that are common for all. In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Harmony Home Health & Hospice shares the following information about the stages of Parkinson’s disease:

Stage 1

Identified as early-stage Parkinson’s, in this stage a person typically has only mild signs that may display as follows:

    • Friends and family can usually pick up on changes in the person’s posture, balance, and facial expressions
    • Symptoms are only on one side of the body
    • Uncontrolled tremors or shaking in one limb may be observed
    • Symptoms are bothersome, but not disabling
Stage 2

During the course of the second stage of Parkinson’s, inability to execute typical physical tasks may become more evident:

    • Posture is impacted
    • The individual has marginal disability, and frequently experiences ambulatory or balance problems
    • Symptoms will affect both sides of the body
Stage 3

This stage is viewed as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and more noticeable impairment will begin to develop:

    • Early impairment of equilibrium may bring about the inability to walk straight or stand
    • There is a substantial slowing down of the body movements
    • There is general dysfunction that is relatively severe
Stage 4

Stage four represents advanced Parkinson’s disease and is associated with severe symptoms:

    • Tremors may lessen or disappear for unknown reasons during this time
    • The person is unable to perform everyday tasks and usually cannot live alone
    • Rigidity and bradykinesia, or slow movements are often observed
Stage 5

The final stage of the disease commonly takes over the individual’s physical movements:

    • The individual may not be able to walk or stand
    • One-on-one care is required
    • The individual often experiences a general decline in vitality and strength of the body and mind

Harmony Home Health & Hospice’s in-home health care professionals are extensively trained in all aspects of senior home care, and can assist individuals with Parkinson’s and other conditions of aging to live fuller, more comfortable and independent lives in the comfort of home. Our senior home health care services are tailored to each person’s needs and preferences. Contact us online [or give us a call any time to learn more at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322).