How to Care for Someone Living With Parkinson’s Disease: Tips for the Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver
Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease can be a rewarding experience, but as a Parkinson’s disease caregiver, it can also be emotionally challenging. Too often, caregivers forget to care for themselves, as their lives become consumed with doctor appointments, meal preparation, daily tasks, and other caregiving duties to support their loved ones. It’s essential for caregivers to understand the unique needs of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and provide the best possible care to ensure their well-being while also taking care of their own health and happiness.
This article will share some supportive tips and advice for Parkinson’s disease caregivers on caring for themselves and their loved ones.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that slowly robs a person’s ability to move or control their muscles. This neurological disease affects neurons in the brain, causing a range of symptoms, including:
- Muscle Stiffness
- Balance problems
- Coordination difficulties
It can also cause non-motor symptoms like depression, anxiety, and cognitive changes.
Sadly, Parkinson’s disease progresses over time, so symptoms can worsen. With disease progression, individuals may have more and more difficulty performing everyday tasks like walking or speaking.
Age and genetics play a significant role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. This means that older adults and those with a family history are more likely to develop the condition.
It’s a challenging and debilitating disease, but with the proper treatment, care partner, and care plan, individuals with Parkinson’s can still live fulfilling lives.
For more information on Parkinson’s disease, visit our article here.
Does a Person With Parkinson’s Disease Need a Caregiver?
A person with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from having a caregiver. As the disease progresses, everyday tasks become more difficult for the person. Having a caregiver can make a person’s life a whole lot better and easier!
As a caregiver or care partner, you may be a family member of the person living with Parkison’s disease, including a child, spouse, sibling, or other loved one. You may not have actively chosen the role of the caregiver, but sometimes, you are thrown into it because you love and care for the person deeply, and you know they need the support.
As a Parkinson’s disease (PD) caregiver, it’s extremely important to care for yourself too. Too often, family members neglect their own personal health while caring for others.
At Nurse Next Door, we understand how challenging it can be to care for someone with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, we offer Respite care services to support caregivers so they can take a step back and focus on their own health and well-being.
What Does a Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver Do?
Parkinson’s Disease caregivers can assist with a variety of tasks:
- Personal hygiene
- Accompaniment to medical appointments
- Meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Medication management
- Mobility assistance
Caregivers can also provide emotional support and companionship. They play a crucial role in ensuring that the person is always safe and comfortable. Usually, caregivers monitor symptoms, help with transferring or mobility, and ensure the home environment is hazard free.
Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging and demanding, both physically and emotionally. The role of a care partner may also adapt and change over time as the disease progresses.
In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, a family caregiver may require more assistance to support their loved one. That’s where Nurse Next Door comes in. Agencies like Nurse Next Door can support family caregivers and jump in to help whenever you need them. Nurse Next Door caregivers have the experience and expertise to manage severe symptoms of your loved one’s disease.
Our Care Team can develop the right care plan for your loved one and support the advanced disease with compassion and care.
6 Caregiving Tips for Parkinson’s Disease Progression
1. Continuously Learn
As a family caregiver, continuing to educate yourself about the neurological disease and how it progresses is important. By doing so, you can prepare for harder challenges that may arise and provide the best possible care for your loved one.
There is a ton of valuable information out there! For further education, we recommend exploring the American Parkinson’s Disease Association or the National Parkinson Foundation websites.
They offer a range of additional resources and guidance, including educational seminars, webinars, and materials to help you better understand the disease. You can also use Nurse Next Door as your guiding care partner. Our Care Team is equipped to help you with questions and provide necessary resources to support you as you care for your loved one.
We recommend staying up-to-date with the latest research on how to treat Parkinson’s disease and options for care going forward. The best way to stay up-to-date is by attending seminars, learning about the disease, reading medical journals, reading the Nurse Next Door Caring blog, and speaking with medical providers. By continuing to educate yourself about Parkinson’s disease and its progression, you can provide better support and improve your loved one’s quality of life.
Find the right caregivers and get the best care your loved one deserves.
Give us a call toll-free for more information: 1-877-588-8609
2. Join Doctor Visits
Attending doctor appointments is one way to understand the full scope of your loved one’s disease. They may already need full accompaniment due to movement problems. Still, by attending medical appointments, you will better grasp what treatment plan to follow and how to provide better care.
Also, by attending appointments as a caregiver, you show your loved one that they are not alone in their journey with Parkinson’s disease. It can be very reassuring to have a support system by their side, and it can help build a sense of trust and partnership between a caregiver, the healthcare team, and a person with Parkinson’s disease.
3. Organize Medication
Parkinson’s disease is typically managed through a combination of medications—and timing and dosage are critical for their effectiveness. Create a medication schedule for your loved one!
It’s easy to forget to take the medications at the right time. Still, by having a medication schedule, you avoid forgetting or mistakingly overdosing, which can cause severe medication effects that can be dangerous. Having a clear agenda that outlines when to take each medication and in what form can help prevent confusion and errors.
4. Monitor Insurance
We understand that there are financial obligations regarding any disease or illness. Insurance is one way to financially support families as they navigate the complexities of the disease progression. Stay on top of your insurance provider and coverage.
It’s essential to know what your coverage entails to avoid financial strain and get the most out of your insurance and care.
5. Keep Daily Notes
If you live or provide daily care for someone with Parkinson’s disease, it’s easy to miss the little nuances and changes in a person’s behavior. As a care partner, take notes daily to track the disease and ensure you are following the treatment plan created by the medical team.
Taking notes also helps remind you of changes in the disease, which you can report to the physician on doctor visits. Keeping track of swallowing problems, facial expression changes, impulse control, sleep disturbances, balance problems, mood changes, and anything that could signify a progression in the disease is essential for doctors and nurses to note so they can prescribe the proper interventions.
If there are many changes, it may signify a change in the treatment plan or the medications required to treat Parkison’s disease. It could also mean that your loved one entered a new stage of the disease, for instance, advanced stages, which may require different or additional care and support from professionals.
A great prompt and tool to take notes is a health journal. It is a great tool to help you track your loved one’s health and keep all your notes in one place.
6. Embrace Flexibility
Easier said than done. Parkinson’s disease is a tricky and complex disease that can change and surprise you daily. Stay flexible and open-minded. Symptoms may vary over time and adapt. Be patient with your loved one.
If your plans change on a dime or disrupt your work day, it’s important to approach your loved one’s tasks and support them with empathy and compassion. Take your time when helping others, and even try to give the person with Parkinson’s the opportunity to complete the task independently. This will help them feel independent and give them a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
By prioritizing their independence and well-being, you can create a supportive and positive environment that promotes their health and happiness.
Taking Care of Yourself and Your Health
Do you recall the safety instructions when flying on an airplane? The flight attendant demonstrates how to put on an oxygen mask, and they always state that you must put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Well, the same goes for being a caregiver. You must take of yourself first before assisting others.
As a family caregiver for someone with Parkinson’s disease, it’s eminent that you prioritize your own physical and mental health and well-being.
Caring for a loved one can take a toll, as it can be challenging and time-consuming; needless to say, it can be exhausting at times. Frequently we witness family members as caregivers neglect their own health far too often. Taking care of yourself is critical to the success of the treatment so that you can support your loved one as best as possible.
Here are some self-care tips:
- Take frequent breaks: Take breaks throughout the day to rest and recover. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk, or simply watching your favorite tv show, prioritize taking breaks to prevent burnout.
- Get support: Don’t shy away from asking for help. Reach out to family members, friends, or support groups to get your needed support. A support group is a great resource, as you may be able to find others with similar experiences and guidance. Connecting with people in support groups will give you a sense of comfort, reliability, and friendship that may assist you as you continue providing care.
- Prioritize your health: Take care of your health first by eating good nutrition, staying active, and getting enough sleep. Don’t neglect your doctor or therapy appointments just because you care for someone else. Your health should be prioritized or equally prioritized.
- Consider respite care: Respite care can provide temporary relief for family caregivers. Whether you need a vacation or simply need to take a step back and recharge, respite care can offer support and jump in whenever you need. Nurse Next Door’s respite services are a great place to start. Give us a call toll-free at 1-877-588-8609 to learn more today!
Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; if anything, it’s the most important part of caring for someone else. You cannot care for someone else to the best of your ability if you don’t care for yourself first.
If you’re feeling at witts-end about caregiving and need further support, Nurse Next Door can help.
Choosing the Right Care Partner: Caring From Afar
Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease can be a long and challenging journey. But it doesn’t have to be one you navigate on your own.
Choosing the right care partner is extremely valuable. Nurse Next Door is here every step of the way, providing ongoing care or respite services to help you prioritize your own health and well-being while giving your loved one the best possible care. Our compassionate and empathetic Care Team is committed to providing personalized care, emotional support, and physical support that meets the unique needs of every single individual and their family.
Contact Nurse Next Door today to learn more about how we can help support you and your loved one with Parkinson’s Disease.
Let Nurse Next Door be your care partners. We are here to help you with your Parkinson’s care and support you while your loved one lives at home for as long as possible. We’d love to set up a FREE Caring Consult™ to build a perfect care plan catered to your needs and budget.
Give us a call toll-free at +1(877) 588-8609 to get started!