With one million individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease in the U.S., the widespread disease takes a toll on many families in America. The chronic disease manifests differently in individuals but symptoms include (among others) tremors, slowness, rigidity, and impaired balance. PD caregiver tips help maintain independence as symptoms worsen, increasing the abilities of your loved one.
Since the disease is progressive, worsening over time at varying rates, caregivers are challenged to adapt to the needs of their loved ones. If the disease is caught early and an experienced doctor begins the appropriate treatment plan, PD care may involve keeping a loved one on track with the doctor’s orders. The patient may still have the ability to accomplish daily life without assistance. But as the disease progresses, a PD patient will find it difficult to perform certain tasks. Thus requiring more physical and mental assistance.
Planning ahead for these care needs while the disease is in the early stages is critical.
PD Caregiver Tips
- Join a community.
- Local PD groups, as well as, facebook groups can be helpful in understanding what you’re loved one is dealing with and discovering specific PD caregiver tips from those experiencing the same care issues.
- To find one in your area, the PD Foundation website offers this number and email to reach out: (800) 457-6676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Seek out the best doctors in your area and set up Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Write down questions and obtain answers from the doctor as you attend all the appointments.
- Plan for occupational, physical, and speech therapy to help maintain independence.
- Having Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney in place will ease possible confusion later on
- Home safety for PD patients.
- These enhancements to the home will not only increase safety but also increase the patient’s ability to accomplish tasks and maintain feelings of independence.
- Look for areas of daily life that seem to be more of a struggle, such as dressing, eating, and walking.
- Homes can be made safer with:
- installation of railings in risky areas, such as stairways and bathrooms
- the removal of loose rugs
- a stairway lift
- Some families will find it’s best to move to a one level ranch if possible
- Wider, single level spaces make it easier to use walkers inside.
- Ease daily tasks using items such as:
- The presence of family is especially important.
- Encourage family to visit. Grandchildren love visiting their grandparents and their grandparent is no different to them with or without PD.
- And that grandparent with PD still enjoys the presence of his family, even in the later stages when it’s difficult to communicate.
- Encourage family to make it part of their routine to stop by at agreed upon times.