8 Ideas on How You to Help a Loved one Living with Parkinson’s Disease
When your loved one gets Parkinson’s disease (a neurological disorder), you are among the first people to see the first hand effects and notice the signs and symptoms of the ailment.
You will realize that the first signs of Parkinson’s includes issues with balance, movement, tremors as well as some behavior disorders. These symptoms of Parkinson’s may worsen as the disease progresses.
Life with Parkinson’s disease is not easy. This is a trying moment for your loved one, and they will require social care and help having a comfortable lifestyle. they need to be reassured that developing Parkinson’s is not the end of the world. Multiple treatments and therapies for parkinson disease like occupational therapy, stem cell therapy, deep brain stimulation have been proven to be effective against the disease.
There are many ways you can help them get through the times from driving them to their appointments to small things as listening to them when they need someone to talk to.
Here are eight ways you can help a loved one who has Parkinson’s disease;
1.Learn as Much as You Can about the Disease.
The more you know and understand what your loved one is going through, the easier it is to help them overcome the disease. Make it your mission to understand the causes, risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatment options, and everything else there is to know. There are reputable sites that discuss all there is to know about the disease as well as books.
Although the disease manifests in different ways to different individuals, you can listen to youtube channels of caregivers of people with Parkinson’s to learn a couple of things.
Accompanying them to the doctor’s visit and therapies is also a better way of learning the progress they are making. While at the appointment, ask as many questions as you can about treatment lines, Parkinson’s medications, and other appropriate ways to help your loved one. Keep an open channel of communication with their healthcare team.
Various daily life changes like regular therapy, healthy eating, regular exercise can slow down the progression of the disease.
2.Volunteer to Help Them Out
Parkinson’s disease produces both motor symptoms and nonmotor symptoms. When an individual is suffering from movement disorders, they may have difficulties doing their daily activities. However, they may feel embarrassed to ask you to step up and assist them. Sometimes they feel it’s too much to ask while other times they just want to do the duties as they did before.
Understand that having to rely on another person for help is still new to them and offer to help without letting them ask.
Among the duties you can help them is cooking, cleaning dishes, buying groceries, picking up their medicines, driving them around just to mention a few.
3.Encourage them to Exercise
Everyone needs exercise to stay healthy and fit. This is especially vital for a patients with Parkinsons disease.. Research and clinical trials have shown that exercise increases the level of dopamine, a chemical associated with movement – helping them move more efficiently and slowing the progression of the disease
Exercising helps improve their memory, balance, strength, and quality of life generally, thereby allowing better management of parkinson disease. If your loved one is still active, encourage them to take short walks every day.
Enrolling to dancing or yoga classes is also a good idea. Both of them can help them coordinate their moves. To support them, you can sign up for the class with them. This is helpful as they may be doing it for the first time, causing some sort of discomfort.
4.Help them Lead a Normal Life.
When someone starts to live with an ailment, society starts to treat them differently. As much as some of the actions are kind gestures, they may be a constant reminder of the disease.
This may make them forget the person they are without Parkinson’s disease. Help them live a normal life by discussing their favorite movies & hobbies.
Diverting their mind from the disease helps them from falling into depression and anxiety. Avoid talking about the illness with the patient all the time, give them a break from their illness, and let them be themselves.
5.Get out of the House and Have some Outdoor Fun
Living with a disease like Parkinson can be lonely. Most patients spend time indoors. This can be boring and may lead to overthinking and stress.
Make plans to watch a movie or have dinner in a good hotel. When making reservations, be sure to choose accommodations with facilities that make it easier for them, such as elevators.
Don’t be disappointed when the day comes to go out, and they are not feeling well. If this happens, don’t pressurize them, cancel the plans, and hope for another chance.
Going out helps them experience the outside world and connect with other people, which improves their quality of life.
Living with a disease that is degenerative and unpredictable can be very frustrating. This explains why anxiety and depression are common among individuals suffering from an ailment.
Be there for your loved one to listen to them when they need someone to talk to about what they are going through. When they burst out with emotions, be there to offer them a shoulder to cry on.
Talking to someone can help reduce their stress and sadness. The simple act of an attentive ear can improve their peace of mind. Sometimes, you do not need to say anything; they discover that there is still beauty in their life as they talk.
7.Look for Worsening Symptoms
As time goes by, Parkinson’s symptoms can become more intense. Watch out for these signs and symptoms that suggest a progression of the disease and report them to the doctor on the next doctors’ appointment. Ask your medical practitioner about the stage of Parkinson’s and other signs to look out for.
Also, as aforementioned, Parkinson’s affects the nervous system. Most patients of the illness can develop symptoms like anxiety and depression.
If not treated, these ailments can adversely affect the patient leading to a decrease in physical abilities.
If they are feeling sad, help them book an appointment with a professional, and follow up to see them go.
8.Practise Patience with Them
Parkinsons disease affects the way a patient talks and walks and issues get complicated as the disease progresses. Sometimes, when you are conversing, they may stammer or have a low volume. Be patient with them and smile as you listen to show you are okay with it. A speech therapist may help your loved one learn and exercise to increase their volume. If they are struggling too much, use other means of communication such as emailing or texting.
As you walk, they may not be able to keep up the pace. Slowing of movement is a key sign of the disease. Slow down and go at their speed. If it is still hard, encourage them to use a wheelchair or a walker. Physiotherapy exercises can help reduce these symptoms.
No one loves sickness in their life. If your loved one is living with Parkinson’s disease, it’s high time you step up on their behalf.
If it’s your parent, this is the time to take responsibility and take care of them. They need your love, motivation, positivity & help more than they ever did before. A happy family life is the key to recovery for a Parkinson’s patient.
Understand that having been independent for most time in their life, needing someone to help them around may be uncomfortable.
It’s your duty as a caregiver to ensure they are okay and safe by helping them run errands and other chores around the house.
Following the above-discussed tips will help improve your loved one’s quality of life.