For those of us caring for residents living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) we often wonder why there is a delayed or lack of response to our interactions. Sometimes it is even worse, a total lack of emotional response to external stimuli. There is the flat affect, stiff motor movements, visual disturbances, etc. which decrease their quality of life.
I am not a researcher or a scientist but when I read an article on “what happens to the brain when you fall in love”, I was surprised to learn that the brain releases large amounts of dopamine when you are falling in love. Hmmmm, I was thinking, is that why our residents with Parkinson’s show little to no emotional response? Sure, think about it, their dopamine stores are depleted. If we don’t support them with pharmacological approaches, they won’t have an opportunity to feel emotional connection!
Eureka! I think there is hope for us and our residents living with PD! Take a minute, check your list of resident diagnoses, identify those residents with a current diagnosis of PD and have a physician and pharmacist review their medication regime. Maybe, just maybe, a medication adjustment may improve their ability to have more quality interactions. It is also a good idea to evaluate residents exhibiting signs and symptoms of PD to be sure they are getting the care they need to possibly fall in love! Stay the course, stay informed and be well!