Supporting a Loved One with Parkinson’s Disease
2 December 2021
Caring for a family member or loved one with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be a challenge. This disease is a neurological one that impacts movement and sometimes cognition. It is a progressive disease that comes about when nerve cells are destroyed in portions of the brain. Providing care and support for someone progressing through Parkinson’s can be difficult, especially as symptoms become worse over time.
After Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. It is more common in adults 60 years or older and impacts up to 1.5 million Americans every year. Some common symptoms for people with Parkinson’s include tremors, difficulty walking, rigidity, and loss of movement.
So what can be done to support a loved one with Parkinson’s disease? Keep reading to learn more.
Learn More About Parkinson’s
As someone who is caring for a person with Parkinson’s, it is essential to learn as much about this disease as possible. This includes becoming familiar with symptoms, disease progression, and various methods of treatment. It’s also important to keep in mind that this disease shows up differently in different people.
Try to read up on Parkinson’s disease whenever you can by getting your hands on expert books and research publications. You can also accompany your loved one to doctor’s appointments and ask their healthcare provider for any tips.
Gain Important Skills & Patience
Be patient as you support and care for your loved one, as it takes time to develop the skills and patience needed to properly assist someone with this disease. Over time, caregivers will get better at understanding when to help and when to allow for more independence with various tasks. Parkinson’s symptoms can also vary in their intensity from day to day, so different levels of support will be necessary at different times.
As time goes on, care providers should become more familiar with what Parkinson’s symptoms look like. Here at Rose’s Agency, our expert caregivers understand what to look for with Parkinson’s patients and are familiar with the complex medication schedules that can help improve their quality of life.
To provide good care, take the time to observe your loved one and see how their motor function and mood change over time. These changes will likely be subtle at first and need support as the disease progresses. Being able to follow along with this progression can help prevent more serious problems, such as falling, from happening.
Help Boost Activity Levels
Although getting active is important for all seniors, it is particularly essential for those with Parkinson’s disease. Getting consistent exercise helps people with PD maintain their balance levels, mobility, and eases their ability to do daily tasks. Staying active can also help improve many symptoms that come with Parkinson’s disease. In fact, people with PD that exercise at least a few hours a week can slow declines in quality of life, especially if they start earlier.
If your loved one could use some more movement and activity, encourage them to start building this habit. This could include going for a morning walk every day, signing up for a swim class, or even taking up yoga at their local community center. It’s important to help them pick an activity they enjoy as consistency is the most important thing with establishing an exercise program.
Whenever possible, supporting your loved one to get outdoors can also be very beneficial. This can be done in conjunction with an activity, such as a nature walk. Taking the time to go outside can help with mental health as Parkinson’s can sometimes lead to increased isolation and loneliness for people with the disease.
In conclusion, there are many ways to help a loved one with Parkinson’s disease. Take the time to learn more about their condition and be patient as you develop the skills and techniques necessary to help them as their disease progresses. You can also support them in becoming more active and establishing a regular exercise routine. Doing so can help improve their quality of life and reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Finally, encourage your loved ones to get out more often. Being in nature or just leaving the house can help improve mental wellbeing and reduce levels of anxiety that may come from loneliness and isolation.
Here at Rose’s Agency Home Care, our caregivers have the expertise necessary to help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their quality of life. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions!
For more questions about getting a loved one caregiver support, please contact us by clicking here.