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7 Things to Make Your Life Easier as Caregiver to someone with Parkinson disease

A caregiver with a loved one who has Parkinson disease
Caregiving is a skill that is difficult to learn

As a caregiver, it is natural that you want to do everything possible to assist your loved one who has Parkinson disease. But care-giving is not a skill we are born with, it is a skill that we (are obliged to) learn about the best ways to help a spouse or partner deal with a Parkinson disease diagnosis.

In this article, I tried to gather some tips to help you be the best caregiver. These 7 tips are priceless to your loved one with Parkinson disease:

1. Adapt to diagnosis:

Accepting the diagnosis and understanding that Parkinson's disease is progressive is an important first step. That means it evolves over time, and your role evolves alongside it.

2. Talk to an experienced caregiver:

Connecting with a seasoned caregiver can be beneficial to you, your loved one, and close family members. This person, who you can find through your doctor's office or a support group, has gone through similar experiences to the ones you're having.

Experienced caregivers can offer reassurance and tried-and-true strategies for everything from ensuring medications are taken to recommending classes that have been beneficial and suggesting products that make a patient's life easier. A trusted person who is a step or two ahead of you can also demonstrate by example that the condition is manageable and generally progresses slowly.

3. Educate yourself:

Learn everything you can about the disease early on so you can be an advocate for your loved one's health care and make informed decisions together.

Joining a support group may not appear to be immediately necessary, especially if your loved one is in the early stages, but it is a good idea because people in a group may be at a later stage than you and can help you navigate changes and challenges.

4. Stay on Top of Insurance:

If you've always handled insurance coverage issues, that's great; if not, you might want to familiarize yourself with the terms of your health insurance. You'll need to know if and how much your plan covers prescriptions, therapy sessions, and other unexpected expenses.

5. Get adult children involved:

Caregivers are often hesitant to ask too much of their grown children, not wanting to burden them, especially if they are raising their own families. However, this is detrimental to both you and your children.

Your children should be aware of the nuances of the disease and participate as much as possible in their parents' lives. Adult children can and should provide you, the caregiver, with occasional days off from care-giving.

Depending on the stage of the disease, this may entail taking the parent to the child's home for the day or going on outings such as visiting a museum or attending a sporting event. This provides you with a day to relax or run personal errands, and gives your loved one and his or her grown child time to bond.

6. Make time for fun:

Continue to do everything you've always enjoyed as much as you can. Make time for your book club, swimming lessons, or lunch with a friend. Maintaining your identity as a person separate from your role as a caregiver is critical for your mental and physical health.

7. Don’t neglect yourself:

Many aspects of caring for a loved one are stressful, and if your stress level is rising, you should take a break and seek help for yourself. Maintain regular physical examinations and follow your doctor's advice if you require treatment for any ailments. And don't make the mistake of postponing important tests for the sake of your loved one.

Your mental health is included in this care. Talk to your doctor if you start feeling extremely frustrated; there are probably treatments that can help. Consider respite care or home help if you are unable to enlist the help of family and friends.

That’s about it in this post. Hope that was helpful somehow.

If you have are a caregiver of someone with Parkinson disease and feel like sharing what you’ve experienced, please share it with me by clicking below.

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