Tips for Caring for Elderly Loved Ones with Parkinson’s Disease
Life after a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis can often be difficult and uncertain. Medical science hasn’t fully explained what causes Parkinson’s disease, and we still do not have a cure. However, there are plenty of ways you can help your elderly loved ones to manage their Parkinson’s while caring for them at home.
We understand that you want to care for your loved ones in the best ways possible. When a loved one has Parkinson’s disease, that includes having a thorough understanding of their disabilities, their capabilities, and how you might be able to stand in the gaps.
Here are three tips that you can use when caring for elderly with Parkinson’s disease:
Learn More About Parkinson’s Disease
A full understanding of the disease that your loved ones are dealing with will be the key to providing the best care possible. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. Symptoms do not usually manifest quickly. Instead, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop slowly, often over a period of years.
While the progression of symptoms will vary from person to person, here are a few of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Uncontrollable tremors
- Limb rigidity
- Slow movements
- Walking and balancing problems
Fortunately, your loved one isn’t alone in dealing with these symptoms…they have you! It is entirely possible for someone with Parkinson’s disease to continue living a happy life.
There are also non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which include:
- Sleep disorders
- Loss of smell
- Cognitive impairments
As you can see, Parkinson’s disease can have far-reaching effects. Understanding each of these symptoms will help you to identify them earlier. Fortunately, your loved one isn’t alone in dealing with their symptoms…they have you! It is entirely possible for someone with Parkinson’s disease to continue living a happy life.
Communication is the number one key to a healthy caregiving relationship. Begin a dialogue with your loved one about their Parkinson’s disease early on. This is a beautiful opportunity to create meaningful connections by understanding more about their condition.
Ask your loved one how they feel each day. Are they staying positive? Are they depressed? Do they deal with painful or embarrassing moments that you don’t know about? What tasks can they accomplish without you? What do they feel they might especially need you for?
Each of these questions can create an empathetic conversation that will ultimately lead to a higher quality of care.
Create a Hospitable, Safe Environment
Parkinson’s disease can lead to significant mobility issues. If you are caring for your loved one at home, it is vital to safeguard them by making a few simple home adjustments.
Here are some quick things that you can do to create a safe environment for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease:
- Remove all loose rugs or carpeting (non-slip rugs are okay)
- Clear their normal walking areas from furniture
- Place telephones at a height that will be reachable from the floor (in the event of an emergency or fall)
- Tape down loose cables and cords
- Add individual step-lighting for any and all stairs in the home
- Keep non-slip mats in the showers and baths
- Purchase a shower or tub seat
- Add nightlights to every room, especially near doors or corners
- Keep a comfy chair in their bedroom to help as they get dressed
These are just a few of the considerations that go into proper in-home care for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Be realistic with how much care and consideration you can provide. There is absolutely no shame in needing help; in fact, we expect every caregiver to need assistance at some point. If you ever find yourself in this position, consider enlisting the help of an in-home caregiving service, like Family Matters.
In some cases, medications can provide life-saving relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. There really is no reason for your loved one to ever miss a dose of their medication. An effective medication schedule is a crucial tool for caregivers.
There are plenty of resources that are available to help remind you when it is time for your loved one’s medications. Digital tools offer push-notifications and can tell you right when the next dose is due. We also recommend physically writing the schedule on a wall calendar or whiteboard. This will provide a visual record for your loved one and allow anyone else who is helping with caregiving tasks to stay informed, too.
Caring for Elderly with Parkinson’s Disease? Seek Help
Ultimately, being a caregiver for your loved ones who have Parkinson’s disease can be a colossal task. There is no shame in this — it’s hard enough caring for ourselves, sometimes!
Don’t make the mistake of pushing yourself too far. We always recommend utilizing an in-home caregiving service to take some — or most — of the weight off of your shoulders. Whether we need to provide cooked meals, exercise regimens, or bathing and self-care assistance, our friendly and professional caregivers are capable of providing your loved ones with the attention that they deserve. Call one of the specialists at Family Matters In-Home Care today to find out more about the ways that we can help your family.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.
Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CA, Roseville, CA, San Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.