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How to Care for a Senior Loved One with Parkinson’s Disease

Dec, 14 2021

Parkinson Patients

More than ten million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, out of which around one million people are from the United States. The risk of Parkinson’s disease usually increases as a person gets older. However, approximately 4% of people with Parkinson's disease are usually diagnosed before turning 50.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

It is a gradually progressing nervous system disorder that adversely impacts the movement of the affected person. This disease usually starts gradually, such as a hardly noticeable tremor in one of the hands. Tremors are a common symptom, but the disease can also cause stiffness and slow down the overall movement of a person.

In the beginning stages of the disease, the patient may find it challenging to:

  • Show facial expressions
  • Experience difficulty in swinging their arms when they walk
  • Their speech may seem slurred or soft

What Are the Challenges a Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver Faces?

Mutual understanding and open communication are essential if you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, as the only thing that’s certain about this challenging disease is its nature of uncertainty.

What makes the life of a Parkinson’s disease caregiver challenging is the progressive nature of the disease and the fact that symptoms can significantly vary from one day to the next. For example, a task that seems easily manageable on a particular day might need substantial assistance on another day. This increases the risk of misunderstandings between the caregiver and the patient. For example:

  • Caregivers can feel exasperated when they are asked to do tasks they’ve seen their aging parents do by themselves many times.
  • Patients can feel neglected when they do not get the much-needed support.
  • When their help is rejected unexpectedly, a caregiver can feel underappreciated.
  • When the caregiver insists on doing things that a person living with Parkinson's can do on their own, the patient may feel overwhelmed.
  • The burden of running the home, keeping it financially sound, and implementing the treatment regime may fall on the caregiver

As Parkinson's disease can also hinder the speaking abilities of the patient, as a caretaker, you need to develop a clear agreement with the patients on communicating their basic needs. This enables everybody to sustain their self-respect.

See Also: The Causes of Functional Decline in the Elderly: Symptoms and Treatment.

How to Deal with These Challenges?

Here are some innovative ways to deal with the challenges if you are the primary caregiver of your loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

  • Educate yourself about the disease
  • Work with your loved one’s medical team to provide the best treatment and care
  • Motivate your loved one to get more active
  • Ensure they feel normal as much as possible
  • Help them fight the loneliness by taking them out
  • Listen to them with undivided attention when they talk to you
  • Constantly monitor them for worsening symptoms, changes in movements, and mood changes
  • Always try to be patient when you are around them
  • Take care of yourself and ensure you are healthy and disease-free
  • Be aware of how much your insurance plan covers prescriptions, treatments, etc., for the disease
  • Use in-home care services for dementia or respite care services if you’re unable to care for your loved ones adequately

If you need home care in Orange County to care for your elderly loved ones with Parkinson's disease, Newport Home Care can help you. We are among the prominent home-care service providers for senior care near Orange County.

Contact our team if you want to know more about taking care of your aging parents with Parkinson’s disease.

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