Whether you are a family caregiver or a professional caregiver, knowing how to care for the unique needs of a person with Parkinson’s disease (PD) takes special training. That training should include learning more about the disease, as well as how to provide hands-on care for the person living with PD.
Learning how to support a patient’s needs should also include understanding the importance of not to doing too much. Maintaining a sense of independence is crucial for an adult with Parkinson’s. As a caregiver, it takes experience and thoughtfulness to know when to empower and when to help.
The Parkinson’s Caregiver
In the earliest stages of the disease, an adult with PD may be able to live a fairly normal life. A small hand tremor, slight change in speech, and stiffness in the limbs are typical early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These usually don’t require the assistance of a caregiver to manage. The older adult’s physician will likely encourage them to focus on exercising, sleeping well, and eating a healthy diet.
As the disease progresses, however, a professional or family caregiver may be required to assist with everyday tasks. These tasks are called activities of daily living or ADLs. The ADLs that Parkinson’s disease impacts earliest are the adult’s ability to dress, walk, and get in and out of bed. When a caregiver knows how to provide support with these tasks, they allow the adult living with PD to maintain a greater sense of independence.
Home care agencies, including Griswold Home Care, may offer specialized training for staff members to learn these specific skills. Community organizations sometimes host trainings for family caregivers. There are also online training courses for families who are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s.
Online Parkinson’s Support Groups for Caregivers
Parkinson’s disease often affects adults in the prime of their life. These individuals are frequently younger than people diagnosed with other disabilities. PD caregivers frequently include a spouse and children who still live at home. Balancing the needs of the family with caregiving can be an emotionally difficult time for everyone involved.
Connecting with a support group of fellow caregivers may be beneficial. Here are a few online Parkinson’s caregiver forums and support groups to explore:
Talking with fellow caregivers who share similar struggles can be a positive way to learn how to cope with guilt, fear, anger, and sadness. Peers can also offer advice on balancing all of the roles that caregivers juggle.
Connecting with an Experienced Parkinson’s Caregiver
Because there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, treatment generally consists of working with a physician on a plan for managing symptoms. As the disease advances toward later stages, family members may be unable to care for their loved one without additional assistance.
The support of an experienced caregiver will allow the patient and the family to enjoy their best quality of life together. Griswold Home Care has caregivers who specialize in neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s. Call 1-800-474-7965 for more information and to set up an in-person meeting with a member of our care team.