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Dementia in Parkinson Disease


Any change in ability to think, reason, or concentrate; in problem solving; in memory; in use of language; in mood; or in behavior or personality in a person with Parkinson disease warrants a visit to a health care provider.

Self-Care at Home

Protein in the diet may affect the absorption of levodopa, the major medication used to treat PD. Fluctuations in the level of levodopa may worsen some behavioral and cognitive symptoms. A low-protein diet may reduce fluctuations in dopamine levels. In some patients with these fluctuations, dietary changes can improve symptoms. However, it is important to ensure that the person is getting adequate calories and other nutrients.

People with PD should remain as active as possible. Physical therapy helps the person maintain mobility.

In general, people with PD and dementia should no longer drive. Movement problems may prevent quick reactions in hazardous driving situations. Certain medications that these persons may be taking may make them less alert. However, this should be determined on an individual basis and in compliance with the laws of your state.



A person with Parkinson disease and dementia requires regular checkups with his or her health care provider.

  • These checkups allow the health care provider to see how well treatment is working and make adjustments as necessary.
  • They allow detection of new problems of cognition, mood, or behavior that could benefit from treatment.
  • These visits also give the family caregiver(s) an opportunity to discuss problems in the individual’s care.

Eventually, the person with PD and dementia will become unable to care for himself or herself or even to make decisions about his or her care.

It is best for the person to discuss future care arrangements with family members as early as possible, so that his or her wishes can be clarified and documented for the future.
Your health care provider can advise you about legal arrangements that should be made to ensure that these wishes are observed.


We know of no way of preventing dementia in PD.


Persons with PD and dementia have a poorer prognosis than persons with PD without dementia. Their risk of mood disorders and other complications, as well as premature death, is higher.


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