Caring for a Loved One With Parkinson’s
If you are selflessly taking on the primary caregiving role for your loved one with Parkinson’s, you might be wondering how to provide the best care. Your loved one’s providers will give you specific medical care instructions, but caregiving also continues with daily life. How do you manage? Here are several tips for how to care for a loved one with Parkinson’s.
When your loved one first received the diagnosis, there was probably a flood of information. However, even if you receive great explanations from your loved one’s providers and medical team, it’s important to do your own research about Parkinson’s and its progression from reputable sources. Some expert sources to look at are Parkinson’s nonprofits and care centers that specialize in Parkinson’s care.
Having more knowledge of Parkinson’s, the symptoms, progression, and treatment will give you more confidence as your senior loved one’s caregiver. In addition, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening now and what to expect in the future.
Don’t Shy Away from Hard Conversations
This is a difficult diagnosis for your loved one and yourself. One of the best things you can do is have open and honest communication. Even though some conversations about care will be difficult, it’s always best to stay on the same page.
You and your senior loved one also need to be on the same page about your role as a caregiver. If you both don’t have the same expectations, that can certainly impact your loved one’s care. However, once you agree on what you will help with, it makes it easier to move forward comfortably.
Encourage Independence When Possible
As you provide care for your senior loved one with Parkinson’s, look for ways to encourage independence. There are many benefits to helping seniors stay independent for as long as possible. You may find that your senior can do some or all of their normal daily activities with Parkinson’s. Let them take the lead when possible and be flexible with good and bad days.
Be Involved With Appointments
A simple and effective method for staying on top of changes in symptoms, treatment, and medication is by attending doctor’s appointments with your loved one. As you’ll see more below, changes in symptoms and side effects can be subtle, so staying involved with appointments will help everyone stay aligned. In addition, take notes at the appointments and write down questions or concerns that come up. You can also offer your view of your loved one’s condition, which can be very helpful.
Watch for Changes & Adjust Accordingly
Symptoms of Parkinson’s can change slowly over time and fluctuate day to day. Watch for how your loved one’s abilities and mood change and record those changes. These are essential things to bring up at your loved one’s doctor appointments. Be especially mindful of changes when there are new or adjusted medications or treatments.
Since medications are such a crucial part of your loved one’s treatment for Parkinson’s, you will likely have to be intentional about reminding your family member to take them. You can create systems, reminders, or alarms to help your loved one remember to take their medication.
Take Care of Yourself Too
It’s important not to neglect yourself as you care for your family member with Parkinson’s. There are a lot of resources and groups that provide support for caregivers, so you don’t have to feel alone. Here are other essential ways to take care of yourself as a caregiver:
- Give yourself grace as you adjust to a new normal
- Recognize your limits and set boundaries
- Ask for other family members to help
- Seek a trusted community to release all of your grief and emotions
- Don’t forget to have fun with your loved one
Consider In-Home Caregiving Services
As your loved one’s Parkinson’s progresses, it may be time to consider in-home caregiving services. This is also a way for you to have extra help as your loved one’s caregiver. An in-home caregiver can come as often and long as you need and provide support with many tasks. However, it’s critical to choose an in-home caregiver specializing in Parkinson’s care.
If you’re looking for specialized Parkinson’s in-home caregivers in Sarasota, Caregivers United is here to help. We have experience caring for Parkinson’s patients and are committed to providing the exact care your loved one needs. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to help support you as the caregiver and help maintain a comfortable, safe, and stable environment for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s.
Taking on the primary caregiver role for a senior family member with Parkinson’s can be overwhelming if you aren’t experienced with this disease. We hope these practical tips help you feel more confident and equipped to care for your loved one in the way they need. If it’s time to consider in-home caregiving services, reach out to Caregivers United today for a free courtesy visit. You won’t find a more committed and professional caregiving team for your loved one with Parkinson’s than Caregivers United.