Parkinson’s Impact on Communication: Challenges Seniors Face

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Seniors with Parkinson’s experience both non-motor and motor symptoms. These cognitive difficulties and mobility problems are part of the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD), and they often result in special communication challenges for seniors with PD. Here are a few ways Parkinson’s affects communication. 


People use emotional responses to connect with one another. Many seniors with Parkinson’s experience facial paralysis that makes it difficult to convey emotions. Understanding the intention behind the words is a large part of the communication process. 


Seniors with Parkinson’s are often unable to express themselves using nonverbal communication such as body language. They cannot gesture with their hands, faces, and bodies like many people do because PD often causes stiff muscles. Listening to your aging loved one closely can bridge this communication gap. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care Potomac, a leading provider of senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


Most seniors with PD will experience vocal changes over time, making it harder to hear them when they speak. Their speech quality often becomes quieter and breathy. Studies have shown this decrease in speech is due to brain changes that affect the ability to follow internal cues that control sound. Exercising the voice has proven to be effective in increasing clarity and volume. 


Physical changes to the limbs and body affect movement, making it more difficult for seniors with PD to communicate while in motion. You might notice your loved one’s voice becomes soft and the clarity decreases when he or she is moving around. Longer pauses are also common when seniors with PD are trying to express themselves while walking. 

Many seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can continue to live at home, but they’ll likely need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Potomac, MD, 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 Assisting Hands Home Care, we extensively screen all of our 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.


Memory loss and cognitive challenges slow thinking time in seniors with Parkinson’s. This delay causes them to process things more slowly, and they often feel they know certain words but cannot immediately recollect them. Communication skills can be enhanced by performing vocal and memory exercises. 

Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging, and both seniors and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Potomac senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Specialists today at (301) 960-7892.