Finding out that a relative or loved one has Parkinson’s disease can be devastating, but by learning to provide effective support and care for them, you can considerably improve the quality of their lives. There’s no substitute for professional Parkinson’s care, of course, but the unqualified relative can make a huge difference on a basic care level. Here we round up some of the more practical steps you can take.
Parkinson’s is a progressive condition affecting one in 500 Britons; the death of certain nerve cells in the brain leads to a lack of dopamine, causing symptoms such as tremors, stiffness in the body and slow movement. Depending on the patient, the symptoms can deteriorate over time, so your role as a care giver may become progressively more important.
Dealing with Parkinson’s can be a big emotional load and it really helps to have someone to talk it through with and share the burden. Keep an eye out for sudden changes in mood, as this could indicate a change in dopamine levels. And look for signs of depression, which is one possible symptom and should get professional attention.
Helping your relative move around and perform physical tasks as the symptoms progress can be invaluable. But it’s also important that you encourage them to stay active. And as much as you will want to help, you should also allow them to do things themselves where possible, even if it takes longer than it would if you pitched in. This will help with mobility and also make them feel more capable. Also consider getting them started early with a physical therapist as this can make a remarkable difference.
The amount of help your relative requires may vary from one day to the next, as the symptoms wax and wane, so staying adaptable is the best approach. And make sure your relative knows to ask you for help when it is needed. Just the knowledge that you are around when needed may be a relief in itself.
There are some very practical ways in which you can help: making sure your relative takes all the prescribed medication, makes it to doctor’s appointments on time and so forth. These basic things can sometimes fall by the wayside, especially when symptoms such as dementia occur.
Every day is a learning experience and you may make mistakes. Give yourself permission to get things wrong, and make sure you know where to get expert help when it’s needed. The value of joining a support group cannot be underestimated. And bear in mind that as a carer you may qualify for benefits and health and social services, which may make things considerably easier.
Care when you need it
When it comes to expert professional care for the elderly, ANA Nursing is confidently relied upon by many for the experience and dedication of its staff. And when the time comes to provide expert nursing, we’ll go the extra mile to ensure your relative is well cared for.
If you would like to know more about the Parkinson’s care we provide contact us on 02089057701.