What Are the Five Stages of Parkinson’s Disease?


If your body is gradually experiencing tremors, stiffening of limbs, slowed movements, and a waning sense of balance. Well, these might be signs of Parkinson’s disease, a condition that affects over a million individuals in the United States alone. Yet, it’s challenging because no two cases are precisely alike; how it manifests differs considerably from person to person.

Early on, the symptoms of Parkinson’s may be subtle, barely making a dent in daily routines. But as time goes on, these symptoms can become much more challenging to deal with. They can become serious challenges, making it tough to move around. Standing up or walking can start to feel like a real struggle

Pinpointing the stage of Parkinson’s isn’t a specific lab test affair. Instead, healthcare professionals measure its severity based on the impact on movement and daily life. This approach, introduced by Margaret Hoehn and Melvin Yahr in 1967, segments Parkinson’s into five separate stages, a gradual progression spanning several years.

Interestingly, studies suggest a slower disease advancement in those diagnosed at a younger age, contrasting with the swifter progression in those diagnosed later.

The stages follow a trajectory: from the early stages, where symptoms barely scratch the surface of one’s daily routine, to the later stages, where even the most basic activities demand substantial assistance.

Various Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Pre-Motor Stage

The pre-motor stage is the silent opening to the main act. It’s not even part of the main stages. Way before you even suspect Parkinson’s, there could be signs like losing the sense of smell, acting out dreams (yeah, sleep gets weird), or even trouble in the bathroom

Stage One

Here, the first tremors of Parkinson’s progress typically affect one side of the body. While gait, expression, and posture changes might arise, they don’t yet impede daily functioning, often making diagnosis challenging.

Stage Two

Progressing from the initial phase, symptoms intensify, spreading to both sides of the body. Though living independently remains possible, daily tasks grow more complicated, accompanied by alterations in speech and movement.

Stage Three

In the third stage of Parkinson’s disease, things start to get a bit more complicated. People may find that their balance isn’t as good, and they move more slowly, making them more likely to have falls. Although they can still do things independently, dressing and eating may be more challenging than before. They’re still independent but face new challenges with everyday tasks.

Stage Four

In stage four of Parkinson’s, things take a big turn. People usually need help with daily tasks at this stage. They might be able to stand up independently, but they often need to use things like walkers to get around. In the fourth stage of Parkinson’s disease, patients become more dependent on others; they might have to think about changing where they live to make things easier. It’s a time when getting help with everyday things becomes essential.

Stage Five

In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s, things get tough. People might become so stiff that they can hardly walk at all. They usually need constant care and often use wheelchairs to get around.

On top of that, they might experience non-motor symptoms like feeling really down, anxious, or even seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. It’s a challenging time for both the person with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

As Parkinson’s progresses into its later stages, things get much more complicated. The symptoms intensify, and managing medications becomes challenging. Providing support and care becomes incredibly important.

Many people also have to face the possibility of dementia, along with a higher risk of falls, which means they need even more attention and help.

Wrap Up

Knowing about these stages isn’t just about putting people into categories. It’s a way for the person with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to understand what might be coming so they can get ready, expect what’s ahead, and figure out how to handle the new challenges that come with the disease.

Reach out to Courtyard Luxury Senior Living, where we specialize in providing exceptional care for individuals with Parkinson’s and memory-related issues. Our community is uniquely divided into two designed villages: one dedicated to assisted living and another explicitly tailored for memory care.

We understand the importance of supporting our senior members throughout their golden years, ensuring they receive the exceptional care and attention they deserve.

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