4 Top Tips for Parkinson’s Caregivers
Becoming the primary caregiver for anyone with a chronic illness is an enormous challenge – and especially if your loved one suffers from Parkinson’s. The issues that arise when looking after someone who suffers from this illness are unique, with unpredictable symptoms meaning that no two days are the same.
Here at We Have Parkinson’s, we’re passionate about improving quality of life for those who have Parkinson’s – whether that’s through groundbreaking research, or through empowering the caregivers whose lives have been affected by this illness. Here are our top tips for Parkinson’s caregivers, to help them cope with this 24/7 job.
Learn as much as you can
The more you know about Parkinson’s and how it affects individuals, the more prepared you’ll be as the condition progresses. The symptoms of Parkinson’s can often be unpredictable, but research can help you know what to expect when your loved one’s behavior or symptoms start to change.
The unpredictable nature of Parkinson’s means it pays to stay organized. Make sure you keep accurate, up-to-date records of your loved one’s hospital trips or visits to specialists, as well as the range of medications they have to take each day. This will also help if, for any reason, you are unable to care for your loved one for a short period – perhaps you have fallen ill yourself and need to hand over responsibility for a few days. It might also be useful to keep a record of symptoms, so that you can spot patterns if they emerge.
Join a support group
There are a multitude of support groups out there for caregivers – some are specific to those with loved ones suffering from Parkinson’s. It’s impossible to overstate how comforting and reassuring it can be to spend time with those who understand your perspective as a carer – you’ll make new friends who truly know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Support networks are just as valuable for caregivers as they are for the person with Parkinson’s.
Take care of yourself
You can’t be an efficient caregiver if you’re not in good health. When you’re not caring for your loved one, focus on looking after yourself – eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Take time every day for yourself, whether it’s relaxing with a cup of tea, flipping through your favorite magazine or doing twenty minutes of yoga in the evening. All of these things will make you a better carer for someone with Parkinson’s.
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