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2018-09-17

5 Tips for Loved Ones of Those with Parkinson’s Disease

The moment your loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease you begin an emotional journey that likely starts with fear and bewilderment. Your first instinct may be to panic. You may be unsure of your role going forward and what you can expect. These five tips will help you adjust to life after your loved one has received a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Educate Yourself

To calm any fears or misunderstandings you may have about the disease, the best thing you can do is learn all you can about Parkinson’s. It will help you be an asset to your loved one by recognizing symptoms and keeping medical staff well informed. Education will enable you to take a more stable approach when interacting with your family member. This helps them cope in a time where they are likely frightened as well.

Coordinate Your Family

In the later stages of Parkinson’s your loved one will need constant care. Sharing the burden among your family makes the care far easier. Decide who will be in charge of preparing food, driving to medical appointments, maintaining the household and other chores that are no longer possible for your family member to do alone during the last stages of Parkinson’s.

Have Patience

As the disease progresses, your family member will likely say and do things that are completely out of character. Learning to take a step back and not take these actions personally can spare you deep pain.

Stay In Shape

When you are responsible for the care of your loved one who suffers from Parkinson’s, it becomes an increasingly physical job as the disease progresses. You can make this easier on yourself by exercising and building up your stamina. This is a good activity to do with your loved one while they are in the early stages of the disease, as research suggests exercise can ease symptoms.

Healthy Grieving

One of the deeply difficult aspects of caring for a Parkinson’s patient, is watching the person you love slowly decline in health. People in this situation often find themselves grieving while their loved one is still alive. Be aware this is likely to happen, and allow yourself to grieve in a healthy way. Avoid using alcohol, drugs or food as a coping mechanism. Instead, try therapy or support groups.

Following these tips can help ease your way through difficult times. An early diagnosis means that your loved one has many years of relative independence in the future. Using this time gives you a good chance to plan and adjust accordingly.