Tips to help you with Parkinson’s care for your loved one

If you are caring for someone living with Parkinson’s there can be a lot of challenges. However, it is possible to provide good Parkinson’s care for your loved one. In addition, there is plenty of support available to help you.

What is Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that develops when cells in the brain stop working properly. These brain cells produce a chemical called dopamine. Symptoms start to appear when the brain can’t make enough dopamine to control movement properly.

The three main Parkinson’s symptoms are:

  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
  • Rigidity (muscle stiffness)

Other symptoms include fatigue, reduced sense of smell, depression, anxiety, tiredness, disturbed sleep and constipation.

How is Parkinson’s treated?

There are a range of treatments available for people living with Parkinson’s. These include medication, exercise and therapies.

Each person has a unique experience of living with Parkinson’s. Your specialist will find the right combination of treatments for you or your loved one. Care will involve a arrange of health professionals including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. Good nutrition and regular, appropriate exercise can also be enormously helpful in living well with Parkinson’s.

How can I provide Parkinson’s care for a loved one?

Caring for someone living with Parkinson’s disease depends on their individual needs and the severity of their symptoms. However, in general, caring for someone with Parkinson’s involves assistance with:

  • Managing and administering medications
  • Keeping an eye on symptoms and general health and wellbeing
  • Taking them to medical appointments
  • Supporting safe mobility in the home
  • Help with household chores such as preparing meals and housework
  • Support with personal care
  • Assistance in getting out and about
  • Companionship and emotional support

Tips to help you care for your loved one with Parkinson’s

  • Take care of yourself

Make sure you have time to relax and that you stay healthy and well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Enlist the help of other family members or a professional carer to assist you in providing care.

  • Learn everything you can about your loved one’s disease

Get to know what causes its symptoms, how the condition progresses and the treatments that can help manage it? Go along to their medical appointments and ask any questions you have. Do your research. For example, sites such as www.parkinsons.org.uk are a great place to start. Being well informed and understanding changes that may occur will help you to adapt and continue to care well for your loved one.

  • Step in and offer help as needed

With this movement disorder, your loved one may struggle with some daily chores such as cooking and cleaning or popping to the shops and they may be embarrassed to ask for help. So an offer of support when needed may be greatly appreciated. Remember to set yourself realistic goals though and don’t overdo it.

  • Let your loved one do what they are able to

This will help them to feel more normal and keep their sense of self. In addition, you can’t do everything!

  • Get yourself and your loved one out of the house

Parkinson’s can be very isolating and lonely. Take your loved one out for a walk together. Exercise is important for people with Parkinson’s as it improves their strength, balance, memory, and overall quality of life. It also gives them a change of scene and a sense of normality.

  • Keep an eye out for any changes in your loved one’s symptoms

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease and your loved one’s symptoms will change over time. Be mindful of their ability to walk including their coordination and balance as well as how quickly they fatigue. Also monitor their speech and their moods, especially feeling depressed.

  • Talk to your loved one about their family affairs

It’s not easy to discuss these topics but it is important that you are informed of your loved one’s wishes. Find out their wishes regarding their will, power of attorney, and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.

  • Continue to live your life

Meet up with your friends, participate in hobbies and activity groups, and keep to your daily routine as much as possible. This is important for your mental health as well as helping you to feel more energised.

  • Get the right support

Have someone you can talk openly and honestly with and who can support you.  This may be a friend or family member or a support group. Knowing that you are not alone and that someone else is in a similar situation can help. Also, you need to ensure your loved one has the right medical support and they will be entitled to assistance to ensure they are safe at home. If you feel your loved one needs extra help, speak to your GP and they will be able to guide you to further sources of assistance.

How Live-in Care can help

With the best will in the world, most people cannot spend all their time looking after their loved ones and keeping them company. If your loved one is struggling to look after themselves, you might consider live-in care as an alternative to residential care.

Medical care

Live-in care can help by providing specialist carers trained in supporting those living with Parkinson’s. Specialist carers can help with aspects of medical care such as keeping an eye on symptoms, administering medications, ensuring safety in the home and taking your loved one to appointments.

Personal care

Carers are also trained in providing personal care that helps your loved one maintain their dignity and sense of self-respect. They can help with general health and wellbeing by supporting your loved one in eating well and in taking appropriate exercise.

Support with chores

Your live-in carer can also take care of practical matters such as household chores, food preparation, collecting prescriptions, making appointments and much more.

Companionship and emotional support

In addition, a live-in carer can provide companionship and emotional support which will help your loved one stay healthy and happy. They can help your loved one attend social events and stay in touch with others, so they maintain close relationships and enjoy life more.

Support independence

Your live-in carer will ensure your loved one remains as independent as possible and can enjoy a fulfilling and meaningful life.

How Mumby’s Live-in Care can help

At Mumby’s, we specialise in providing live-in care, with a particular focus on the specialist support required in conditions such as Parkinson’s. Our professional and friendly staff are trained in the practical support of people with these conditions, including nutrition and exercise. In addition, they provide emotional support to help people living with Parkinson’s.

If you need help supporting a loved one, speak to a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team today on freephone 0800 505 3511 or email info@mumbys.com to find out how we can assist you with your live-in care needs.

For more information on living with Parkinson’s visit  Parkinson’s UK