For those challenged with caring for a friend, family member or loved one with Parkinson’s disease, it’s difficult to know just what to expect.
In our experience assisting with care for our clients’ loved ones with Parkinson’s, we’ve uncovered some important ways to make a difficult period easier for all involved.
We’re offering some tips and resources to equip information-seekers with what they need to know about choosing the right assistance for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.
Define Caregiving Needs
Before making a rash decision, we recommend taking some time to consider what you or another party will need to provide in terms of care. The diagnosed individual’s doctor may have offered advice on what is expected. These are some considerations to account for:
Does the individual with Parkinson’s need help in the following areas?
- Feeding/Meal Preparation
- Medication Scheduling
- Exercise/Physical Activity
From there, it’s worth thinking about what you and your family will be able to provide vs. what you may need assistance on delivering. How many hours will you be available? For how many will you need additional help?
Quick tip: Because the disease is progressive, care plans often need to adapt continuously in order to account for changes in independence and involvement level.
Account for Safety Considerations
One of the most important things one can do to assist someone with Parkinson’s is to simplify impediments and challenges across everyday life. This blog does a great job laying out the ways you can adapt the home environment to manage daily challenges, and simplify common activities. Above all, it is crucial that the individual is safe in the home and properly monitored or assisted by someone they can trust.
A person helping someone with Parkinson's disease requires training and education. We provide some great resources later in this post for friends and loved ones of an individual diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. If you are exploring hiring an agency to assist with care, it is best to have consistency in a caregiver familiar with the individual’s unique needs and qualified to assist. This also adds comfort and familiarity to the individual with the disease’s life.
Verbal Communication is Key
Make sure all members of the care team have the skills to properly communicate with your loved one. Experts know that simple communication cues that are short, simple phrases help individuals with Parkinson’s understand instructions or requests. Use the same cues across all caregivers to provide instructions that are optimized for understanding.
While our regional directors are always ready to answer your questions and point you in the right direction, the following links are great choices If you want to brush up on additional information online.
Caring and Coping - A Caregiver’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease by the National Parkinson Foundation. An in-depth eBook that provides information, context and advice every step of the way. Likely the most comprehensive, helpful resource for Parkinson’s disease care online.
Simplifying Daily Care for Someone with Parkinson's Disease by Denise Clark on AgingCare.com. This action-oriented resource lays out what you can do to adapt the home environment for the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease.
Caregiving Portal by the National Parkinson Foundation. This hub is pointed specifically at caregiver considerations, and features some great video content laden with advice from caregivers who have been in your shoes. The landing page features sections laying out care levels at various stages of progression, as well as blog content enabling you to learn more as a caregiver.
Though there’s a lot to consider when you must address Parkinson’s disease in your life, it’s important to know you are not alone. The right caregiver has experience helping people in similar situations adapt for this life change, and is able to provide advice that will make the process easier. Talking to an agency is often the best way to gauge whether they are knowledgable and a good fit to help you and your loved ones make the best decision for all involved. Get in touch with us today and find out what Bluebird Homecare can do for your loved one.