The body is unique; although every person is made up of the same components, all bodies run differently. So it is no surprise that when someone suffers from an illness, they react in a different way than any other person, the disease is specific to them. Parkinson’s Disease is no exception. It is a highly individualized disorder so symptoms may look and/or be different for each and every person.
There is no exact rule book that guides the way for someone to care for another with this disease; however, there are a few tips each caregiver can adopt and adapt, to help them in the home.
Take Note of the Symptoms
Parkinson’s is a neurological disease with no cure, currently. Because it can affect the behaviors of your loved one, it is important to notice the changes that are occurring. As the caregiver you are a witness to the changes in your loved one. Because your loved one may be unaware of some of the symptoms they are having, or can’t communicate the message effectively themselves, it is critical you take note of symptoms to communicate with the doctor.
It is also crucial to watch for an increase in symptoms, changes in mood such as depression, and the sleep schedule they hold. If there is an increase in symptoms it may be enough to suggest a change in the medication regimen and should be something that is discussed with the doctor. Depression is also a common effect (or possibly a symptom) of Parkinson’s and can negatively impact any, and all progress. Lack of sleep can also worsen symptoms or aid in depression which affects symptoms. Look out for signs that medication should be changed or modified.
It is up to you to make sure your loved one is taking the appropriate dosage of medication at the right times, as prescribed by your doctor, to see the best results possible. If other medications are prescribed, such as for depression or sleeplessness, it could be easy to mix up times or the dosage, which could negatively impact any progress your loved one has made. Because Parkinson’s medication works on the biochemistry of the brain, keeping it on a strict schedule will have the best chance at maintaining and reducing symptoms.
Promote Exercise/Physical Therapy
New studies have shown that exercise has helped people with Parkinson’s disease, keeping joints limber and stimulating neurological health. Physical therapy can also help your loved one maintain independence. By encouraging your loved one to exercise and making sure they are doing their in home physical therapy you could be helping them with problems or symptoms they haven’t even seen yet.
As always as a caregiver it is important to support your loved one, but it is also important to take care of yourself. Maintain a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle so that way you can be at your best for you both your loved one, and yourself.