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

Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Changes in Personality?

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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 may 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 addressed 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 disorders are also experienced by 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 Assisting Hands Home Care. 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. 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 Columbia 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.

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 Columbia, MD, home 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. To learn about our quality-assured services, give us a call at 443-233-1245 today.