Tips for Caring for a Loved One with Parkinson’s Disease
Finding out that your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease can be scary. It is a progressive condition for which there is currently no cure. But the disease does not affect everyone exactly the same, and there are ways to manage symptoms to improve quality of life. Because it is a progressive disease, there are many things your aging parent may be able to continue doing on their own with minimal support, while other tasks require additional assistance.
Learn About Parkinson’s Disease
One of the best things you can do is learn as much as you can about Parkinson’s. Understand how it affects the body and mind and what common symptoms to look for. Find out how it typically progresses and what you can expect moving forward. This can make dealing with changes easier and help you to better plan for the future.
As the disease progresses, it may take your loved one longer to do things for themselves. Let them continue being as independent as possible and only step in when needed or if they ask for help. Don’t rush to do everything for them; they may need to allow for more time for certain activities, or find new ways of doing them that fit with their current ability level. That’s okay! Be supportive and patient.
Stay Active Together
Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, so keeping the body active and muscles moving can be beneficial. Work on building strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility through a variety of exercises. Offer to do different classes or activities together so they have someone to keep them company and stay motivated. You can also work on their skills through different tasks at home.
You may need to adjust your plans based on how they are feeling that day. Try to pick activities that they can do on their own and that are not significantly impacted by their Parkinson’s disease. This can help to maintain some sense of normalcy and independence; you can do things together instead of them feeling as though they have to rely on you for help. Reassure them that you don’t mind providing assistance, however. Talk to them about what they feel up to and how they want to spend the day or afternoon.
Ask for Help
Remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. It’s okay to take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy. Self-care is an important part of being a good caregiver so you can continue doing your best and don’t get burned out. Consider hiring an in-home caregiver who can spend a few hours a day or week with your aging parent depending on their needs. A caregiver can assist them with a wide range of tasks and ensure that they’re able to age in place as comfortably, safely, and independently as possible. It can allow you to focus on spending quality time together rather than stressing about getting everything done.
Always Best Care caregivers can support your loved one in managing some of the challenges of Parkinson’s disease by providing the level of care they need when they need it. We offer a wide range of in-home care services and are skilled in working with a variety of health conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s. Contact us today at 586 329-1950 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.