Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurological condition, and in its advanced stages, the disease can affect cognitive functioning. Not all people with Parkinson’s disease will develop dementia.  Parkinson’s symptoms include tremors, rigidity, akinsesia (immobility) and postural instability, muscle stiffness and reduced muscular power.   Reasoning, memory, speech, and judgment are usually affected.  Parkinson’s is often accompanied by depression, hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, delirium, apathy and compulsive behaviors, some of which may be related to medications.

Performance may fluctuate during the course of a day or from day to day.  The characteristics of executive functioning such as initiation, planning concept formation, rule finding and mental speed may be affected.  Visuo-spatial functions such as orientation, perception and construction may be affected, causing a concern about driving.  Memory may be affected in recall of recent events or learning new material although memory usually improves with cueing.  Language is usually preserved although word finding difficulties and impaired comprehension of complex sentences may be present.