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How To Help Your Loved One With Parkinson’s Disease Thrive

How to Help Your Loved One With Parkinson’s Disease Thrive

Parkinson’s disease is a serious condition that can affect memory, motor function, mental clarity, and more. Though a Parkinson’s diagnosis can mean a significant change in lifestyle and ability, it doesn’t have to cause a drastic dip in quality of life.

People with Parkinson’s disease can still make the most out of life in many ways, but with this condition comes an added dependency on a caregiver. While the role of the caregiver is essential for daily tasks, there are many ways for other family members and friends to help provide care.

If your family member or loved one is experiencing Parkinson’s, you can help brighten their days and make the symptoms of this condition easier to bear. 

Reach Out Regularly

Struggling with mental conditions like Parkinson’s can make people feel isolated, especially if they live alone. If someone you love is dealing with Parkinson’s disease and you aren’t their primary caretaker, make an effort to reach out to them or visit regularly. 

A friendly conversation can help stimulate their brain and reduce negative symptoms like confusion or irritability. Additionally, a visit from a dear friend or family member can allow their caregiver to take some time for themselves.

Get Educated 

The more you understand Parkinson’s and how it can affect people at different stages, the better you’ll be able to communicate and connect with your loved one. This disease can advance at varying speeds depending on the individual, and different people will need different types of care. 

Understanding what can generally be expected with Parkinson’s will give you a clearer idea of what your family member is going through and how you can make things easier for them. 

Keep Communication Open

Having a loved one with Parkinson’s doesn’t mean you need to assume a patient-caregiver relationship, especially if you aren’t directly responsible for your family member’s care. In some situations, having the people around them treat them differently can make people with Parkinson’s feel even more isolated. 

Make an effort to communicate openly with your loved one. Though it may seem obvious, it can be easy to forget that the person experiencing the illness likely has the deepest knowledge of what they need to feel supported. 

Ask your loved one questions and gain insight, but be careful to move the subject to lighter topics if they become uncomfortable or upset. 

Go to Doctor’s Appointments

Many individuals with Parkinson’s disease are able to handle a variety of daily tasks in the early stages of their illness, including driving themselves to appointments. Whether your family member needs transportation help or not, ask whether you can tag along to some of their doctor’s visits to learn more about what they’re going through.

Hearing details of their diagnosis straight from the source can be extremely helpful in understanding what Parkinson’s is and how it affects people. Additionally, you’ll be able to ask questions of someone who is knowledgeable and understands your loved one’s specific experience with the condition. 

Handle the Busywork

Your loved one with Parkinson’s likely has a caregiver to manage day-to-day tasks like bathing, eating, dressing, and administering medications. However, there may be other responsibilities you can take on as a family member or friend that will alleviate some stress.

Does your loved one with Parkinson’s have insurance claims to be filed or bills to be paid? Taking on these types of busywork can allow your loved one’s caregiver more time to attend to immediate needs. It will also ensure that your loved one is on time with any paperwork that could affect their care or quality of life. 

Be Understanding and Flexible

When you love someone with Parkinson’s, expect their condition to change from day to day. A variety of factors could dictate their mood, and Parkinson’s can develop at different rates for different people. Always be flexible with your plans with your loved one, and make sure they know that you understand. 

Caring for People With Parkinson’s: A Delicate Balance With Rewarding Outcomes

When you have a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, offering care as a non-caregiver can be tricky. However, knowing that you’ve made a big difference in your family member’s quality of life is extremely rewarding. You’ll treasure the time you get to spend with your loved one, and your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

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 CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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