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Living with Parkinson's: 5 Tips on Caring for a Parkinson’s Disease Patient at Home


Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease that affects an individuals ability to do their activities of daily living (ADLs) independently. Most people with Parkinson will require the assistance of caregiver to help with their ADLs. It’s essential for caregivers to understand the unique needs of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and provide the best possible care to ensure their well-being while also taking care of their own health and happiness. It is the aim of their article to help caregivers learn and apply some helpful tips when working with their Parkinson patients.


What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson's disease is becoming more prevalent in our communities, and requires a unique approach when caring for these individuals. This disease is a neurological progressive disease that primarily affects the individuals motor control ability. With disease progression, individuals may have more and more difficulty performing everyday tasks like walking or speaking. A few of the most common symptoms include:

-       Difficulty balancing and coordination

-       Tremors

-       Stiffness in the muscles

-       Mental changes – Depression, anxiety and memory loss

Although this disease worsens over time, with the proper treatment and care plan, individuals with Parkinson’s can still live fulfilling lives.

Does a Person With Parkinson’s Disease Need a Caregiver?

We understand how challenging it can be to care for someone with Parkinson’s disease.

What can a caregiver help a person with Parkinson's disease with? A person with Parkinson’s disease can experience some relief from having a caregiver. The caregiver can help with everyday tasks as they become more difficult for the person. Parkinson’s Disease caregivers can assist with a variety of tasks including:

-       Meal preparation

-       Light housekeeping

-       Medication administration

-       Help with transferring

-       Personal hygiene

-       Escort to medical appointment

-       Personal care

In addition, we find that individuals benefit from having a caregiver that can provide emotional support and companionship. There is a sense of relief knowing they have a caregiver that understands that each day is going to look a little different then the last day when living with Parkinson's disease.


5 Caregiving Tips for Parkinson’s Disease Progression

1. Be a Life Long Learner of Parkinson’s

The first step for a caregiver is to become familiar with what Parkinson's disease is. Knowledge is power, and there are so many resources on the internet to learn about how Parkinson's will affect and change people. This is important because it will help you understand that if they are acting or behaving in a way that seems abnormal to you, you will understand what is normal and abnormal with the normal progression of Parkinson's disease.

The best resources are speaking to medical professionals about Parkinson's disease, reading about the latest up to date research of Parkinson disease. By doing so, you can prepare for harder challenges that may arise and provide the best possible care for your loved one. 2. Medication Management

Most individuals with Parkinson disease will be inundated with old and new medications to help manage their symptoms. Being on top of the timing of administrating these medications is key in managing Parkinson symptoms.  Having a schedule that you both understand and follow strictly is going to be the most effective method to minimize Parkinson symptoms. Setting a alarm for however often it is required in a day and during the night is the best way to ensure there are no missed or late doses!  

3. Document the Day

Daily note taking will help you and the individual keep track of daily subtle changes. It is good to write down how the patient is feeling, mood, pain, the ability to transfer, mobility changes, etc. In additional, if there are increased safety concerns from ambulating or transferring that is noticed or difficulty swallowing or sleep disturbances, these are all things that need to be documented and reported to the doctor on the next visit. Interestingly, more and more individuals with Parkinson are documenting their food intake and correlating them with their symptoms. Certain food you may be eating may be causing more pronounced Parkinson symptoms, so it is very useful to look back at the daily documentation to see how you are feeling and doing to see if certain foods may be causing the symptoms that day, and perhaps try limiting or eliminating them all together.

Taking notes also helps remind you of changes in the disease, which you can report to the physician on doctor visits. Keeping track of swallowing problems, facial expression changes, impulse control, sleep disturbances, balance problems, mood changes, and anything that could signify a progression in the disease is essential for doctors and nurses to note so they can prescribe the proper interventions.


4. Join Doctor and Medical Appointments

Ask your patient with Parkinson disease if they would like for you to attend their doctor’s appointments. You can help benefit from your physical assistance as well as your ability to ask questions the patient may have had but forgot to ask their doctor, and also you can advocate for your patient if you want to address something that is not currently working for your patient. You are also able to make notes about what the doctors recommendations and ensure that your patient has had all their questions answered.  It can be very reassuring to have a support system by their side, and it can help build a sense of trust between a caregiver, the healthcare team, and a person with Parkinson’s disease.

5. Its Okay for Plans to Change

Each day is going to be a little different then the day before for the person living with Parkinson's. Some days will be better then the next day. Also, some parts of the day may be easier to cope with them another part of the day. Parkinson’s disease is a tricky and complex disease that can change and surprise you daily. Stay flexible and open-minded. If you planned to go shopping today but your symptoms are flared up, it is okay to change plans and do it a later or even tomorrow. Be easy on yourself, and open to plans changing.

Contact Modern Day Home Health Care today to learn more about how we can help support you and your loved one with Parkinson’s Disease.

Give us a call at 778– 539 – 5300

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