Nearly one million people are living with Parkinson’s disease in this country. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Primary motor signs of PD include tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, slowness of movement, rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.
Despite decades of intensive research, the causes of the disease remain unknown. In some people, genetic factors may play a role. In others, an environmental or other event may contribute. Aging is one important risk factor. There is a 2-4% risk for the disease among folks over age 60 vs. 1-2% in the general population.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, you’re providing a wide range of supportive services. These likely include driving to doctor’s appointments, cooking nutritious meals, monitoring medications, and possibly giving hands-on bathing and dressing assistance. As the disease intensifies, the needs of the patient often escalate.
Of course, caring for your loved one with patience, skill, and compassion is vitally important. Comfort Health of Rochester, MN wants you to remember that it’s also crucial to take time to care for yourself. After all, if you become ill from exhaustion or stress, you will be unable to provide proper and loving care for your spouse, parent or other loved one.
Comfort Health provides several professional home care services including skilled nursing, therapy, and assistance from caring home health aides. We offer these suggestions to help you ease the challenges of caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s:
- Establish a support team and take time for yourself. Many family members, friends, and neighbors will be happy to help if you need to run errands or just need a break. Keep a list handy of people you can contact for assistance. Some people may feel more comfortable helping you with other tasks, such as grocery shopping or going to the post office. If that’s the case, keep a running list of errands available that you can distribute among friends who ask.
- Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s disease. By doing this, you’ll understand what changes to expect in his or her behavior or symptoms and how you can best help when those changes occur.
- Let your loved one participate. Don’t try to do everything. Allow him or her the time to complete daily activities, such as dressing, on his or her own.
- Do not put your life on hold. Continue to meet with friends, participate in hobbies or groups, and maintain a normal schedule as best you can.
- Have someone to talk to. Talk openly and honestly with a friend, family member, pastor or other religious leader. If that’s not possible, join a support group.
- Hire a compassionate and well-trained home health aide from Comfort Health. Our home health aides are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give you respite from the demands placed on you as a caregiver. After all, getting just an afternoon or a few days off each week from care giving can leave you refreshed and recharged.
For more information on how Comfort Health can help you care for your love one, contact us by calling 800-204-2332 today.