The Caregiver's Approach to Parkinson's Disease

November 7, 2022
As a neurological disorder, Parkinson's affects movement, balance, coordination, and speech. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in people over 50, but it can occur at any age. While Parkinson's Disease has no known cure, treatments are available to help manage its symptoms. It is essential for caregivers to understand Parkinson's disease and how to provide support to their loved ones. Throughout this blog post, we will explore the different ways caregivers can help patients with Parkinson's Disease live fuller lives.

What is Parkinson's Disease and What Are The Symptoms?

Parkinson's disease affects the central nervous system and is characterized by chronic and progressive movements. This disorder is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical that helps control movement. Tremors or shaking, rigidity or stiffness, and slow movement are the main symptoms of Parkinson's disease. In addition to balance and coordination problems, depression, speech, and swallowing difficulties, as well as other symptoms may also occur. Although Parkinson's disease cannot be cured, medications and treatments can help improve symptoms.

What are the Types of Interventions for Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease patients can benefit from many different types of interventions. While some interventions aim to reduce Parkinson's symptoms, others focus on providing support and assistance. The following are some common types of interventions caregivers use:
Occupational therapy: This type of treatment helps Parkinson's patients improve their daily functions. By teaching patients how to manage their symptoms and make everyday activities easier, occupational therapists can help them improve their quality of life.

Physical Therapy: Patients with Parkinson's can benefit from physical therapy by improving their strength, flexibility, and balance. A physical therapist can also teach patients how to perform everyday activities safely.

Speech therapy: Speech therapy can improve speech and communication skills in patients with Parkinson's disease. Assisting patients with swallowing difficulties is another service speech therapists provide.

Dietary changes: Making dietary changes can be helpful for patients with Parkinson's disease. Antioxidant-rich diets, for instance, can be beneficial to some patients.

Exercise: Exercise is important for all patients with Parkinson's, but it is especially important for those who are sedentary. Exercise can help improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.

Medications: There are many different types of medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's. Medications can be used to control tremors, improve muscle function, and relieve pain.

The best way to create an intervention plan for your loved one is to work with a team of healthcare professionals. Parkinson's patients can live full and meaningful lives if they receive the right support.

What are Some of the Common Challenges Faced by Caregivers of Those with Parkinson's Disease?

Caregivers of those with Parkinson's Disease often face several challenges, including:

Managing the symptoms of the disease:

  • It is important to note that different patients may experience different symptoms, requiring individualized treatment.

Handling stress and fatigue:

  • There is no doubt that caregivers face a great deal of stress and fatigue, which can have a detrimental effect on their health.

Providing emotional support:

  • Patients with Parkinson's Disease often experience a wide range of emotions, and caregivers need to be supportive and understanding.

Juggling work and caregiving responsibilities:

  • Many caregivers have full-time jobs in addition to their caregiving duties, which can be difficult to manage.

In spite of these challenges, there are many ways caregivers can find solutions to these problems. To start with, caregivers need to be informed about Parkinson's disease and its symptoms to the best of their abilities. In doing so, they will be able to better understand their loved one's condition and how they can support them in the future. In addition, caregivers should maintain a positive attitude and be supportive of their loved ones as much as possible. 
This can be difficult at times, but it is essential for maintaining a positive outlook for both the caregiver and the patient. It is also very important for caregivers to seek out support from other caregivers or professionals who are able to provide advice as well as guidance from their experiences. In this way, caregivers are more likely to be able to cope with the challenges of caring for someone who has Parkinson's disease successfully.

Tips for helping your loved one stay active and engaged in life

There are many things caregivers can do to help their loved ones with Parkinson's Disease stay active and engaged in life. Here are a few tips:
  1. Encourage your loved one to stay active. For those living with Parkinson's Disease, exercise is very important in terms of maintaining their health, mobility, and independence.
  2. Help your loved one stay social. People with Parkinson's Disease often find it difficult to socialize, so be sure to encourage them to stay connected with friends and family.
  3. Make sure they get enough rest. People with Parkinson's Disease can often feel tired, so make sure they get plenty of restful sleep.
  4. Be patient. It can be difficult for someone with Parkinson's Disease to do things that used to be easy, so be patient and supportive.

Further, caregivers should keep their loved one's environment stimulating by keeping the home and surroundings interesting and engaging in order to help keep their loved one's mind active and stimulated. This may involve adding new decorations, changing up the scenery, or simply keeping the conversation flowing. As caregivers, we can help our loved ones with Parkinson's Disease stay active and engaged.

Contact BrightStar Care of Bedford Today

BrightStar Care of Bedford Manchester is here to provide you with the resources and support you need to take care of your loved one. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help. Contact us online or by phone at 603-637-4646 and by visiting us at our location in Bedford: NH601 Riverway Place Bedford, NH 03110.