ParkinsonVoice Summer 2013 - Volume 5, Issue 2

summer 2013 Volume 5, Issue 2

PhotoCourtesyof: HappyTrailsPhotography Aurora,CO

Parkinson Voice Enhancing Lives, Connecting Communities

Thinking&Memory in Parkinson’s Disease ByDr. Benzi Kluger, University of ColoradoMovement Disorders Center

Tips&Tricks for CarePartners 1. If you are having difficulty hearing the person with Parkinson’s and you become frustrated, try keeping distractions to a minimum. Turn the radio and television off so you can hear each other better. 2. Give yourself permission to do things that are not related to Parkinson’s. Do something fun for yourself. You do not have to define yourself as the person taking care of the PWP. 3. As the care partner, try not to focus on what the PWP can not do, but focus on what they can. 4. If the person with Parkinson’s is having difficulty walking or freezing, distract them instead of getting frustrated that they are not moving. Distraction helps alleviate anxiety. 5. When your loved one falls, try not to panic, count to ten (slowly) and breathe. The adrenaline of fear can cloud your judgement. Those ten seconds can give you enough time to think more clearly before helping your loved one.

For many people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the fear of some day losing their memory and ability to recognize their loved ones is their greatest concern. However, like everything else in PD, there is a wide range of possibilities. Some individuals never experience memory problems; while others may experience severe memory issues. Trying to understand one’s own risks and learning about how PD affects thinking and memory can be confusing. When talking about this subject I like to start by clearing up some commonly used terms. Definitions of Commonly Used Terms Cognition is a fancy word for thinking and memory. Cognition can be divided into more specific cognitive functions including memory, language, attention, visual and spatial processing and executive functions. Executive functions are higher level aspects of thinking, and include planning, multitasking, complex decision making and processing speed.

Neuropsychological testing uses specially designed tests to measure cognitive functions relative to expected results based on one’s age and education level.

(MCI) refers to changes in cognition which are more than expected for one’s age but do not affect one’s ability to live safely by themselves. Dementia refers to changes in cognition which are severe enough to impair one’s ability to live safely by themselves. PD is one potential cause of dementia. Other causes of dementia include medication side effects, severe depression, vitamin deficiencies and Alzheimer’s disease. How Common are Thinking and Memory Problems in PD? Most studies of PD suggest that approximately one-third of PD patients have normal cognitive aging, one-third have MCI and one-third have dementia. PD patients have a higher risk of developing dementia than people of the same age without PD. People living with PD who already have MCI or severe balance and walking problems are at higher risk for developing dementia than other people with PD.

Thinking and memory changes in everyone as they get older. Some things, like processing speed, begin to decline after age 25; while others, like vocabulary, wisdom and life- experience, may increase throughout life. Normal cognitive aging refers to expected age-related changes in cognition. Mild Cognitive Impairment

Continued on page 2






Planning for LateStage Parkinson’s

11thAnnual VitalityWalk Results

Ask the Expert

Colorado Support Groups

Thinking& Memory inPD Dr. Benzi Kluger

Made with